A diet that provides all the macro and micronutrients necessary for the body is a solid basis for good health – even in old age!
Especially our neurons, especially the young ( first maturing) brain cells in the hippocampus, need the right building materials: nutrients and protective substances, so they can develop and become functional. But what special substances are these? Does our diet still contain these components in the required dose?
Ultra-processed foods, a stressful lifestyle and often unfavourable nutritional recommendations lead to wrong eating habits, which in turn promote chronic diseases (read more at “our brain is what it eats”)
The right mix of macro and micronutrients makes the brain healthy and can actually be a powerful ally fighting against dementia.
In addition to the recommendations to consume food as fresh and unprocessed as possible, we have compiled some of the most important dietary recommendations for dementia prevention in the following sections.
Why does the brain need sugar? Only the simple sugar, glucose (dextrose), is required to maintain the structure and function of nerve cells. Glucose is converted inside the cell into ATP, the fuel of all cells. It also provides substrates for cell construction. Great, you might think: supply as much sugar as possible and the brain (and all other cells) are full of energy and live happily!? Unfortunately, this is not true at all. Too much sugar is the “sweet killer” for our cells.
Fats & Fatty Acids
The central nervous system (i.e., brain and spinal cord) consists primarily of lipids, i.e., fat molecules – especially the cell membranes, which are formed from a double layer of fat. Healthy brain and nerve cells therefore need fat. Now, not all fat is the same. While long-chain saturated fatty acids are harmful in excess, medium-chain saturated fatty acids are fuel for the brain. (MCTs) In the same way, omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids form an important protective barrier against neurodegeneration.
The first evidence that RSV may also be responsible for the protective effect of red wine in Alzheimer’s patients came from epidemiological studies conducted by a French research group in 1997, which showed for the first time an inverse correlation between moderate wine consumption and the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric / Curcuma
There is good evidence that curcuma consumption has several potential health benefits for the elderly. Curcumin acts as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, inhibitor of Aβ aggregation, and chelator of metal ions in AD therapies. These effects, regardless of the results of clinical trials, are a good reason to include curcuminoids in our dietary habits.