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Combating Alzheimer's Disease
The following are summaries of key findings from books by Rosemary C. Fisher. Included are recommendations to combat Alzheimer's Disease with diet. Her recommendations are the result of reviewing over 200 medical studies from the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, Journal of Nutrition and other medical journals on how diet can affect a person's health and well-being as one ages. For other articles on research findings by Mrs. Fisher, see Prevention of Major Medical Problems with Diet. Books by Mrs. Fisher, which contain many recipes for health, can be ordered from her Home Page.
Summary of Recent Research
Thiamine and Alzheimer's
My interest in thiamine, better known as vitamin B, started in 1990 when Iread a study published in the Annals of Neurology. This study indicated that high doses of thiamine might be beneficial in treating the reduced mental abilities of people afflicted with Alzheimer's. I thought to myself how great if, as we age, we could even improve our mental abilities. At
that time I never thought of anyone in our family as having Alzheimer's. I was thinking that if we included foods high in thiamine in our diet we could improve our mental abilities as we aged. One thing, we had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The more I researched, the more I learned about thiamine. Thiamine is essential in the manufacture of hydrochloric acid in our bodies thereby helping to absorb our minerals and vitamins. This is especially important as we age, as in our 40's we start to have a reduced hydrochloric acid function. We need a good hydrochloric function at all times, but especially as we age. It is important to note that at least 40 studies on thiamine and Alzheimer's have been published indicating its potentially positive role in dementia. If you are trying to get more thiamine into your diet, consider also including brewers yeast, wheat germ, whole grains, brown rice, yogurt and nuts. I have recipes in my books using these and other thiamine rich foods.
Magnesium and Brain Functioning
Magnesium is also necessary for brain function. According to the publication (October, 1995) Food and Nutrition Research, a publication of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Greenbelt, Md., it was reported that magnesium is the fourth most abundant element in the brain. A low level of magnesium overexcites the brain's neurons and results in less coherence. Good sources of magnesium are the following: defatted soy flour, whole grains, wheat bran, and nuts. As I stated before, I make sure I get at least 1/3 cup of defatted soy flour each day in my diet. It not only may help with mental functioning, but as my other articles and books indicate, it may help with preventing cancer, heart disease, and osteoporosis
Vitamins and Alzheimer's
According to a 1996 article in the Irish Medical Journal, 76, 488-490, it was noted that elderly patients (65 or older) with Alzheimer's had low B12 levels and were often deficient in B1, B2, B6, B12, and C. All this is a good reason to maintain a good diet rich in these vitamins. Again, defatted soy flour, brewers yeast, along with multiple fruits and vegetables, can help keep these vitamins in good supply in our daily diet. That is part of the rational for the 5 servings of fruit and vegetables from the USDA. It may seem difficult at first to change a lifetime of bad eating habits - but if we grow old in years and not in body, it is worth it. Change a little at a time. As you feel better, you will be motivated to change more.
Physical Fitness and Mental Functioning
As noted in a 1997 Age Page from the U.S. Department of Health & Human
Services National Institute on Aging, "Careful attention to physical
fitness, including a balanced diet may go a long way to help people keep a
healthy state of mind". Again, what do we have to lose to do this?
Nothing. But we have everything to gain if we implement some of this
research in our lifestyles.
For Dementia the research suggests that the following foods are appropriate
and perhaps helpful to eat. As always check with your doctor and have
appropriate blood work done before following any of the research
suggestions from this or other sources. The recipes for including these
foods in your diet and the research supporting these recommendations are
included in my 4 books.
Some foods to consider eating more often
- Homemade yogurt with extra dry milk added to increase the magnesium and calcium content
- Defatted soy flour (at least 1/3 of a cup per day recommended)
- Oatmeal cooked in microwave for 1 minute
- Whole grain cereal and breads
- Sugar and fat-free foods
- Low fat tomato sauces and pasta
- 97% or greater fat free chicken or turkey breast (I look for at least 99% fat free.)
- Olive oil or canola oil substituted for other oils, but still use sparingly
- Salmon and other fish, including the skin and fat (Research suggests this fat (EPA fat) has the ability to raise HDLs. 1-5 servings per week recommended)
- Green leafy vegetables
- Carrots, lightly cooked
- Pumpkin, canned or cooked
- Oatmeal, shredded wheat, other whole grain low-no sugar added cereals
- Fresh fruits
- Dried unsweetened fruits, especially apricots, dates, prunes
- Walnuts, almonds in moderation
- Grape juice
- Grapes, especially red grapes or black
- Grapefruit, especially pink
Foods to consider avoiding
- 1%, 2% and whole milk and products
- Meats with 96% or less fat
- Red meats
- Hydrogenated oils such as stick margarine
- Food with high butter fat and other animal fats
- Hot dogs, hamburgers
- More than one cup of coffee or other caffeine beverages
- Soft drinks
My books have over 200 recipes applying these ingredients and principles.
Copyright 2002 by Rosemary Fisher. For permission to reprint, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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and Dr. R. Jerry Adams