Have you ever heard Alzheimer’s disease referred to as “type 3 diabetes?” Over time, this unforgiving disease has earned the name as researchers continue to uncover the correlation between a sugar-rich, unhealthy diet and Alzheimer’s risk. High sugar intake can actually cause insulin resistance in brain cells, which impairs the brain’s ability to use glucose and produce energy.
When researchers altered the way in which rats responded to insulin in brain cells, “Diabetes of the brain” set in and the rats developed signs of cognitive impairment typically associated with Alzheimer’s.
A study in the Archive of Neurology found that when both men and women were fed high-saturated-fat diets rich in refined sugars, insulin levels skyrocketed and beta-amyloid plaque levels in the spinal fluid increased significantly (beta-amyloids are a group of proteins that, when clumped together, block cellular signaling at synapses).
New Compound in Turmeric Hailed as Brain Cell Supporter
Curcumin, one of the bioactive components of turmeric, has bathed in the limelight in recent years for its role in preventing oxidation and reducing irritation throughout the body. Now, researchers are pointing to a second molecule in the super spice that contributes to its remarkable healing power.
A recent study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy found that a fat-soluble component called Aromatic-tumerone (Ar-tumerone) may be an additional source of turmeric’s brain-boosting benefits.
German researchers found that Ar-tumerone increased the number of neural stem cells, a subgroup of self-renewing brain cells required for continuous brain repair. This newly-discovered component also improved the number of fully-differentiated neuronal cells, a sign that healing is happening inside the brain.
While the importance of turmeric for cognitive function is well-researched, until now, previous studies focused on curcumin as the sole bioactive compound in the Indian spice.
Slash Alzheimer’s Risk in Half with The MIND Diet
Clearly, the call is to detox your diet by ditching sugar and focusing on incorporating healing foods (like turmeric) into your diet. The newly coined MIND diet, which takes cues from both the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, is gaining immense popularity after researchers discovered it may reduce Alzheimer’s risk by as much as 53%!
In short, the MIND diet consists of 10 “brain-healthy food groups” – green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine – and five unhealthy groups – red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.