natural dementia prevention

  1. Cocoa nutrients are good brain food

    Chocolate can fight dementia

    If you're tired of hearing about how your favorite treats are unhealthy, I've got some good news for you today: Chocolate may help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

    Yes, delicious chocolate... is good brain food.

    We've actually seen this in studies of good brain food before, but the latest research goes a step further, showing how the antioxidants found in cocoa work to protect critical brain cells.

    Researchers extracted the antioxidants from ordinary store-bought cocoa powder and set them loose on brain cells in a lab dish to see what would happen.

    And what happened was a candy executive's dream come true -- something that would probably be on the wrapper of every Mars bar, if not for strict FDA regulations -- because the cocoa antioxidants kicked off a process called brain-derived neurotropic factor survival pathway.

    That's not a phrase you'll ever hear from a talking M&M in a TV commercial, but it's an essential process that helps keeps neurons alive.

    And in the study of good brain food  in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, the cocoa antioxidants even launched this process in brain cells that had the beta amyloid plaques linked to dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

    The effect was so startling that the researchers say cocoa polyphenols may be even more powerful than those found in green tea. And like the famously healthy antioxidants in that tea, the ones in cocoa have also shown they can help protect the heart, fight off oxidative stress, and more.

    This is great news for chocolate lovers, of course, but don't take this as a license to eat candy all the time. A square or two a day of dark chocolate is all you need for the good brain food benefits -- any more than that, and your healthy habit could quickly become an unhealthy one.

    Alternatively, you can also get the great taste of cocoa without the sugar and dairy fats by working unsweetened cocoa powder -- the same stuff used in the study -- into your drinks and even some of your recipes.

    The antioxidants in cocoa are also available in supplement form. I know -- where's the fun in that, right? But if you can't help yourself around chocolate, supplements might be a better option.

  2. Mediterranean diet foods can protect your brain

    The easy-to-follow diet that can beat dementia

    It's great for your belly, ideal for the heart, and perfect for your brain.

    All that, and it has chocolate, too.

    The very same Mediterranean diet foods I've been writing about for heart health are also proven to keep dementia at bay -- and one new study of 17,478 older Americans finds that sticking to the basics of this healthy lifestyle can slash your own risk by nearly a fifth.

    Not bad when the basics include many of the things you already love -- including delicious fatty fish, lean meats, healthy whole grains, nuts, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.

    The study didn't look at how or why the diet protects the brain, but it's no mystery to me.

    First and foremost, Mediterranean diet  foods are loaded with brain-friendly omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish and nuts.

    A Tufts University study from just a few years back found that high levels of one omega-3 fatty acid, DHA, can cut the risk of dementia in half. Another recent study found that seniors with low levels of omega-3s also tend to have lower scores on cognitive tests.

    It's not the only brain-friendly food in this diet. Remember the chocolate I mentioned earlier? It's actually loaded with antioxidants that can fight off Alzheimer's.

    Keep an eye on your in-box.

    But there's another reason this diet is able to protect the brain. It's not what it has so much as what it's missing -- because this healthy lifestyle contains no brain-rotting processed foods and refined carbohydrates.

    It also limits the saturated fats found in red meat and dairy.

    (Speaking of diets, do you know what the WORST diet for seniors is? Click here to find out.)

    On the downside, the new study in Neurology finds that diabetics don't get the same level of brain protection from Mediterranean foods -- but I don't believe this is a failure of the diet so much as a risk of the disease.

    Diabetes and dementia, unfortunately, often go hand-in-hand.

    I'd consider that one more reason to make sure you don't get diabetes in the first place -- and one of the best ways to do that also happens to be with Mediterranean diet foods.

    That's one way you can avoid dementia. But if you or a loved one already has the disease, you need to slow it down or stop it cold -- and I've got some tips on that coming up next.

    Keep reading!

  3. Low B12 can speed up cognitive decline

    B vitamins are known to power the brain and boost cognition – and new research shows that high levels of B12 can prevent cognitive decline.
  4. The brain-saving benefits of exercise

    Exercise can help prevent the brain shrink linked to diseases such as dementia.
  5. How physical activities can save your brain

    Moderate levels of physical activities can keep away one of the most frightening diseases of old age: dementia.
  6. Having a purpose in life can fight the effects of dementia

    A purpose in life can help keep cognitive decline at bay even when the brain is already showing the damage linked to dementia.

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