October 17, 2012

October 17, 2012
6 Foods to Lower Your Risk
of Dementia Part 2

Welcome to another day in my life. Today is Tuesday and I hope you are having a beary safe and great week so far. It is another busy week for Dab the AIDS Bear and me.

One of the problems from living long term with HIV/AIDS and the medications required to fight the virus is the increased risk of having dementia at some point in our lives. Dementia can happen to anyone regardless of HIV status but studies have shown we are at increased risk.

So what can you do nutritionally to lower your risks of having dementia? Yesterday I started blogging about this during my blogs yesterday so you should read that blog first.

Here are more ways to use nutrition to help lower your chance of dementia:

4. Go fishin’

Scientists have conducted thousands of studies of omega-3 fatty acids in recent decades. These polyunsaturated “healthy fats” reduce inflammation in the body and seem to help the heart function.

UCLA scientists who took blood samples and performed MRI scans on 1,575 people recently reported that people with lower omega-3 levels in their red blood had more brain shrinkage and poorer performance on memory tests. Bowman thinks omega-3s help prevent a type of dementia that is driven by blood vessel disease by healing the blood vessels themselves.

The best dietary sources are oily cold-water fish, such as salmon, herring and mackerel, eaten once or twice a week, Johnson says. Those who don’t eat fish should consult their doctor about whether to take fish-oil supplements, because fish oil also acts as a blood thinner, she says. People typically are advised take one to three fish-oil capsules per day.

5. Savor spinach

Popeye’s favorite snack is a winner in the Dark Leafy Green category. It’s rich in vitamins A and K, folic acid and iron, plus it’s versatile: It can be eaten raw in salads, baked, steamed or stir-fried. Spinach is also packed with at least 15 different antioxidant compounds known as flavonoids, which have been shown to inhibit the formation of the beta-amyloid plaques that build up in those with Alzheimer’s disease. Harvard researchers reported in 2005 that women in the long-running Nurses’ Health Study who ate eight servings of green, leafy vegetables a week (along with five servings of cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, broccoli or kale) showed less cognitive decline than those who ate less. It wasn’t clear, however, whether that was due to the greens themselves or to other factors, such as the wholesale substitution of vegetables for fatty foods.

6. Coffee craving

Java addicts everywhere likely rejoiced at word of the 2009 University of South Florida study showing that caffeinated coffee decreased blood levels of a plaque-forming protein and even reduced Alzheimer’s-like cognitive impairment — in genetically altered mice. Decaf did not have the same benefits, however. The Florida scientists also showed that beta-amyloid protein levels dropped in elderly people without dementia after they were given caffeine.

7. Get some sun

Fat-soluble vitamin D plays a vital role in regulating our immune system and how our cells use calcium, so its effects are felt throughout the body — including the brain. UCLA scientists have found that when paired with curcumin, the active ingredient in the spice turmeric, vitamin D may help trigger the immune system to clear Alzheimer’s plaques in brain tissue. Salmon, sardines, eggs and fortified foods like milk and soy products are good dietary sources for this important nutrient.

Our bodies make D naturally whenever our skin is exposed to sunlight, but this ability declines as we age, so many older people are vitamin D-deficient. Just 15 minutes of bathing sunscreen-free arms and legs in the sun a few times a week generates plenty of the vitamin. If you can’t spend a little time in the sun, nutritionists suggest a vitamin D supplement: 600 to 800 international units (I.U.) a day will suffice for most people, but your doctor may recommend 1,000, 2,000 or even 4,000 I.U. per day, Johnson says. Vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) is the most common supplement, but vegans can benefit from plant-derived Vitamin D2.

Hope these helpful nutrition tips can help you avoid dementia regardless of your HIV status. Have a beary safe and great day!

Until we meet again; here's wishing you health, hope, happiness and just enough.

big bear hug,

Daddy Dab