Conventional medicine has spent decades and billions of dollars looking at the brain from every possible angle to uncover the origin of cognitive decline.
But there’s a reason they haven’t found it yet. The scientists have been looking in the wrong place.. until now.
Dementia might be a disease of the brain, but it doesn’t always start there. Nearly all of the evidence so far points to it beginning in another part of the body altogether.
Cognitive decline could get its start in your stomach.
More specifically, it begins with what you eat, as the latest research uncovers a critical difference between people who struggle with dementia and those who escape the disease.
It’s a single dietary factor. And this one mealtime habit alone could triple your risk of developing the disease. Break it, and your chances for the cognitive decline could plunge.
The BELLY-BRAIN connection
The more pro-inflammatory foods you eat, the higher your chances are of battling some kind of cognitive decline, including dementia. But make the switch to inflammation-fighting foods, and you could stop the memory loss in its tracks.
Inflammation-fighting diets focus on natural, unprocessed foods with minimal amounts of added sugars and empty carbs. And if that sounds familiar, it’s because it describes the basics of the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean lifestyle includes plenty of fresh produce, seafood, nuts, and olive oil. Plus, a modest amount of quality, unprocessed red meats.
Eating a Mediterranean diet (along with similar MIND and DASH diets) has already been shown to drastically cut the risk for heart attack and stroke. Now the new research has revealed that these same inflammation-fighting diets are just as effective for cutting the risk for cognitive decline and preserving brainpower.
And the more pro-inflammatory foods you eat, the higher your risk for serious memory slips climbs.
Researchers tracked more than 1,000 seniors for years, assigning each a score based on how many pro-inflammatory foods were in their regular diet.
Each point up that scale caused the odds of dementia to jump by 21 percent. And those at the highest end of the scale had TRIPLE the risk of cognitive decline as the lowest.
Cut cognitive decline risk with the right diet
Lucky for those of us looking to make a change, the study even got very specific about the differences in diet.
The folks with the highest dementia risk ate about nine servings of fruit and 10 of vegetables a week. That basically boils down to about a serving and a half a day. In other words, not very much.
Those with the lowest risk (and the lowest inflammation scores) essentially doubled that. They ate an average of 20 servings of fruit a week, or almost three pieces of fruit a day. Plus 19 servings of vegetables a week, or nearly three a day.
They also ate more beans and other legumes and even drank a little more coffee or tea each week than the volunteers who were more at risk for cognitive decline.
If this were one study, I’d chalk it up to “interesting.” But it’s not. We’ve seen it countless times before. People with diets filled with inflammatory foods are much more likely to develop cognitive decline, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and more.
In fact, folks with type 2 diabetes (which pro-inflammatory foods raise your risk for as well) are so prone to dementia that scientists often refer to Alzheimer’s as “type 3 diabetes.”
The bottom line? It’s time to take an honest look at your own eating habits and consider how they could be causing your risk for cognitive decline to skyrocket.
Fight the memory loss by ditching the ultra-processed junk foods and replacing them with fresh, inflammation-reducing options instead, such as tomatoes, leafy greens, nuts, fatty fish, olive oil, and berries. Plus, consider an inflammation-fighting supplement, too, such as fish oil, green tea, or resveratrol.
Need a bit more inspiration? Check out my earlier report Three foods that contribute to chronic inflammation and three that fight it.
Making this one simple change to your diet won’t just slash your risk for cognitive decline. It will send your overall health soaring too.