Don’t equate your “age” with your risk of disease…
A recent article about Alzheimer’s in a major health publication stated that “Age is the biggest risk factor for the disease.” The author was referring to the fact that the prevalence of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years in people over 65.
I believe this is a big mistake. And it’s one that is too common. “Age” is widely claimed to be the “biggest risk factor” for macular degeneration. And it is listed among the major risk factors for stroke, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
The problem with equating the risk of these diseases with a meaningless number – our age – is that it allows us to abdicate responsibility. It takes the focus off the true causes of disease and puts it on something that we can do nothing about – the hands of time. Oh, well… that’s just what happens when you get older.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. The degenerative diseases we associate with aging have little to do with our chronological “age.” Rather, they are the long-term ramifications of unhealthy choices that turned into lifelong habits! These diseases do not magically appear at a certain age. They are the end-result of poor nutrition, stress and toxic overload over a long period of time.
Obviously, the longer these risk factors have continued, the greater the chances they will manifest as disease. But the focus should not be on our age. It should be on removing the causes of illness and disease – no matter what magic number we turned on our last birthday.
Is Alzheimer’s really another form of diabetes?
Speaking of the true causes of disease, let’s get back to Alzheimer’s…
Scientists recently discovered that insulin is not only produced in the pancreas. It is also produced in the brain. When the brain no longer secretes enough insulin, its cells deteriorate and the receptors begin to malfunction.
In a recent study of brain tissue from 45 Alzheimer’s patients, researchers found insulin abnormalities quite similar to those associated with advanced stages of diabetes. The brains of those with Alzheimer’s also had abnormal protein deposits similar to deposits in the pancreas of diabetics.
The Brown Medical School researchers who performed the study concluded that Alzheimer’s is a new form of diabetes. They called it “Type 3.” Others characterize the discovery differently. But one thing is certain. Abnormal blood sugar metabolism clearly leads to diabetes AND neurodegeneration. This would explain why diabetics have about a 65 percent increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Just another bit of news to remind you to watch your blood sugar to preserve your brainpower. Avoid added sugars, fruit juices and refined carbohydrates… and workout vigorously three to four times per week. You will have greater mental energy, your mood will be elevated, and your risk of ALL degenerative diseases will be greatly diminished.
The truth about grains…
Hardly a day goes by that I don’t hear or read something about the “health benefits” of whole-grain products. Our food pyramid is built on a base of grains. And I have even seen advice to eat “low-glycemic whole-grain” foods. If someone has found a low-glycemic whole-grain food, I’d like to see it.
Dr. Al Sears’ research foundation put together an extensive glycemic index. They categorized foods that contain carbohydrates by category, from those that raise blood sugar levels the most to those that raise blood sugar levels the least. Please notice the top four categories:
Other grain products
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In other words, cereals, breads and pasta generally produce a bigger rise in blood sugar than desserts or fruits. “Wholesome” whole-wheat bread has a glycemic score of 80. That is twice the score of ice cream, apples, or peaches!
The bottom line: Whole-grain bread spikes your blood sugar the same as white bread does. And
high-glycemic foods make you fat and accelerate aging.
Another way to improve your (and your kids’) brainpower… healthy fats!
When you repeat an activity over and over, it creates neural pathways between different parts of your brain. The more you practice, the stronger those neural pathways become. These structural changes are the physical mechanisms of learning.
This is the foundation for the concept “practice makes perfect.” And the good news is that you can enhance this process even further by supplementing your diet with omega-3 fatty acids.
The BBC recently reported on a small but remarkable study of children who were given fish oil supplements. The children took tests before they started taking the fish oil and again at the end of the three-month study. During the study, researchers found that the children’s reading age increased by a year. Their handwriting became more legible and accurate, and they paid more attention in class.
The kids also had brain scans which revealed drastic increases in their levels of a chemical called N-Acetylaspartate (NAA). This chemical is linked to the growth of those nerve fibers that are created by repetition of an activity. Commenting on the results, the lead researcher said, “In three months you might expect to see a small NAA increase. But we saw as much growth as you would normally see in three years. It was as if these were the brains of children three years older.”
Omega-3 fatty acids are absolutely essential for all of us, young and old. But they are especially important for children, whose brains are still developing. To ensure that you (and your children) are getting enough omega-3, consider taking a fish oil supplement. And be sure to include wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, grass-fed beef, omega-3 eggs, walnuts, and flax in your diet.
To Your Health,
Editorial Director Total Health Breakthroughs