When we think of brain diseases, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s diseases spring to mind. These are three of the most common degenerative brain diseases. They have different symptoms—at least at the outset. They begin in different parts of the brain and affect different types of cells. But the scientists involved in the current research note that they also have a lot in common. And as they progress they become even more similar. Researchers believe that these and other degenerative brain diseases may have a single common cause. And it boils down to one word:
In a nutshell, here’s what the researchers suggest:
First the facts: We actually have two types of immune system. Innate immunity is what we are born with, the body’s natural ability to recognize and neutralize threats. Adaptive immunity is when our body is exposed to threats such as bacteria or viruses and learns to recognize them so it can fight them off when it meets them again.
Now the theory: The Adelaide researchers believe that in the case of neurodegenerative diseases the innate immune system has gone haywire. It’s attacking things that aren’t a threat. This results in a storm of inflammation that causes cell death.
This would explain a lot of things. If amyloid plaques are an immune response, it would explain their buildup in Alzheimer’s brains. It would also explain why so many who do have plaque buildup never develop Alzheimer’s. It would explain the links shown between obesity or diabetes and Alzheimer’s. And it would explain why a Mediterranean diet seems to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. In short, it would make sense of the whole picture. And if we’re lucky, it might lead to an effective treatment.
Until then, prevention is the best option. And when it comes to reducing or preventing inflammation, we have some very good tools. The number one tool for cooling inflammation is found not in your medicine cabinet but—not surprisingly—in your refrigerator. The most important thing you can do to reduce chronic inflammation is to change the way you eat. Your diet can turn your body into a walking hotbed of inflammation, or it can cool the flames. Here’s what you need to know:
The biggest drivers of inflammation are processed foods. The most pro-inflammatory things you can eat include:
- Refined carbohydrates like bread and pasta.
- Processed meats like hot dogs and sausages.
- Margarine other products containing trans-fats—which can still be found in products in tiny amounts.
- Oils that are high in omega-6 fatty acids. These are ok in moderation, but should be balanced by omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish and flax oil.
Do we know for sure that inflammation causes Alzheimer’s?
No. But we do know that it plays a role in nearly every other chronic disease out there. And the evidence is very compelling. Reducing your risk of inflammation just makes good sense for every aspect of your health.
Excerpted from: goldstandardbrain.com/brain--foods/what-really-causes-dementia-new-answers.stml.