What’s the best “low-hanging-fruit” approach that will help you sharpen brain function and avoid cognitive decline or full-blown Alzheimer’s disease? Welcome to the Keto-Mediet approach! If you value sharp cognition and you’re noticing some cognitive slips and you are between 40-65, please read on.
Alzheimer’s Disease Facts:
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) starts with mild cognitive slips and slowly progresses to robbing your mind. AD currently affects over 5.7 million Americans above the age of 65. By 2050 twice as many people will have AD. Because there is no cure, the cost of caring for people with AD is staggering not to mention the burden on the caregivers.
AD is caused by approximately 25 years of twisted abnormal proteins in our brain, which impact our brain cells from making memory connections and decreasing executive function. Once these twisted proteins form plaque chances are, unless you can move mountains and afford Bredesen’s protocol (which takes major changes for the patient and a nice financial bank account to afford), these proteins can’t be untwisted. In other words, AD appears to be on the whole irreversible once we hit the diagnosis. So our best hope is to apply as much gene-by-diet science to keep these proteins in our brain from twisting up in the first place.
When should you start? As soon as you can! If you are 40 and reading this, you should start NOW if you want a healthy brain by the time you are 65.
What causes abnormal proteins to twist up in our brain?
- Aging is a risk factor.
- Abnormal lipid (fat) and cholesterol metabolism that can be caused by a protein called ApoE. Some people have a “hiccup” or a variation on how their DNA makes ApoE. ApoE transports lipids and cholesterol around the body and the brain. All of us have ApoE to help carry cholesterol and fats to our cells, but its whether you have an ApoE2, ApoE3 or ApoE4 that increases one’s risk of AD. It’s the ApoE4 that carries fats and cholesterol in abnormal ways in the brain. Research shows that 40% of people with AD have ApoE4 vs. 3 or 2.
- Elevated blood sugar and insulin from ingesting carbohydrates play a crucial brain declining role in AD. Our overly cooked, refined grain western diet initiate these nasty toxins called advanced glycation end (AGE) products. These AGE products initiate a harmful biochemical stew within our circulation which reaches the brain. Research shows plentiful AGE products in AD. Furthermore, the current statistic that even slight spikes in blood sugar doubles your risk of dementia and quadruples your risk of AD needs to be thought of NOW when your brain is healthy. Before you throw caution to the wind and indulge in those cookies or candies while you think you are kidding yourself by saying “I have to die of something”, I would encourage you to think again and think when you can, because often people with AD linger. On average a person with AD lives 4-8 years after diagnosis but can live as long as 20 years.
- Elevated stress hormones from high-stress levels are detected in AD. So don’t let high cortisol bathe your brain cells and rob you of your ability to think in the long run. Learn a few easy stress management techniques (ie., progressive relaxation, mindfulness meditation, etc) to use at the first sign of stress.
Keto-Mediet: A Healthy Combination
The science is becoming crystal clear. Since we now know these factors contribute to AD, and the best approach is to prevent these proteins from being twisted-up in the first place by these four factors above, AD researchers created an adult food pyramid bringing the best of gene-by-diet science along with exercise called the Keto-Mediet approach. It blends the best of the Mediterranean diet and the Ketogenic diet along with the Okinawa diet with coconut substitution.
The Keto-Mediet is a lower carbohydrate diet (i.e., meaning less than 50 grams a day) but not quite as a low a ketogenic diet (20 grams of a day). What I love about this low-hanging-fruit approach is its long term sustainability, meaning most fad diets are like a horse! You’ll eventually want to get off. This eating plan is realistic and doesn’t exclude food groups. It brings the ketones in our body that our brain can use. It can help decrease total cholesterol while increasing HDL–cholesterol. It helps with weight loss and more importantly helps sustain our weight loss. Besides all of the health benefits (weight loss, weight management, prevention of heart disease, and dodge your risk of AD), the Keto Mediet approach still has sufficient carbohydrates to enjoy each meal. Please see my Keto Mediet Shrimp recipe below.
So stock your pantry with coconut products, delicious oils and spices. Dorignac’s has these products tagged throughout the isles. I’ve posted some novel ways to incorporate these products into recipes without a burden. I guarantee you will enjoy the delicious taste, fulfilling flavor and satiation after each meal.
- Two to three servings of fruit are recommended every day. Whole fruits over juice due to dietary fibers.
- More than 2-3 cups of vegetables per day, focusing on a rainbow of colors to capture various vitamins and phytochemicals.
- Beverages mainly consist of water. Shooting for 4-8 cups of water a day for hydration and waste excretion. Broth soup, green tea, ashwagandha tea and black coffee, juice with pulp, almond tea and coconut water (with no added sugar) are counted as fluids.
- Healthy fats from olive oil, fatty fish, coconut oil, avocados, walnut oil, red palm oil, vegetable oil and camellia oil
- Nuts and coconut flakes are used as toppings, snacks and condiments
- Protein group includes lean meats, tofu, fish, shellfish, poultry and eggs. One serving a day is recommended, which is 5.5 ounces. Processed meats such as bacon, hot dogs or sausages should be avoided.
- 1-2 cup of low-fat dairy or plain yogurt a day. Coconut, almond or soymilk or yogurt could also be used as a vegan option.
- 1-2 cups of grains a day with half of those consumed to be whole grains, such as brown rice, farrow, sprouted or whole grain bread.
- Avoid and limit unhealthy fats such as margarine, saturated fats from animal products and trans fats
- Avoid deep-fried products. Often the oil is reused several times and release cancer-causing chemicals.
Finally, on the side of the pyramid involves a BIG YOU being physically active at least 30 minutes most days of the week. And remember if weight loss is needed, one to one and a half hours of daily exercise is needed to maintain an ideal weight.