I just came across this article reporting that carbohydrates can increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease while protein and fat actually decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This article was published in the “Star Tribune” and discusses the study that was recently published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (I’m working on tracking down the study). According to this article, people who fill their plate with bread and pasta had up to a 4x increase risk of developing Alzheimer’s. In contrast, those who ate mostly protein (beans, fish, and lean meats) and fat (olive oil, avocado) decreased their risk by 42%.
Why do carbs contribute to cognitive decline? Carbohydrates, especially processed carbs like pasta, breads and crackers, are easily converted into sugar in our body. It is believed that sugar affects blood vessels in the brain and contribute to the formation of amyloid plaques. Amyloid plaques are protein fragments that clog the spaces between nerve cells in the brain and are a defining feature Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to eating a diet rich in vegetables and protein, we also know that having balanced hormones during the aging process is another significant step in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. It is exciting how much we are learning about the many preventative measures to ensure cognitive strength during the aging process.