Showing posts with label Alzheimer's prevention diet. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alzheimer's prevention diet. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Food as Medicine - Help Heal Yourself

When my husband was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease ten years ago, we were alarmed to discover that the only way he could slow down the progression of the disease would be for him to carefully follow a restrictive diet. Eventually we realized this is true for many people with a wide variety of medical conditions. We have friends who have been diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes (or pre-diabetes), cancer or various intestinal disorders such as C. Difida, and in many cases they have also been told the best way to improve these conditions is to follow the appropriate diet.

While there are similarities among the different healthy diets, each one has specific foods which tend to be emphasized in order to provide the patient with the best results.  Because of this, whenever you or a loved one has been diagnosed with any serious disease, it is important to learn about the specific diet which will best control that condition and either help you heal your body or, at the very least, slow down the progression of your disease.

Learn How Food Can Help You Heal

You may want to start your treatment program by discussing dietary changes with your doctor.  However, most physicians did not study nutrition in medical school.  As a result, they may not have any more information than a brochure to get you started down the right path.

Most insurance companies, including Medicare, will cover the cost of a visit to a nutritionist who can talk to you about your current diet and explain how you can make appropriate changes in order to support your specific healthcare regimen.  In many cases, a good nutritionist may also be able to include some healthier versions of your favorite foods so you do not need to give up everything you love to eat.  They understand that you will not stick to a diet if the food does not taste good to you.

In addition, you may want to pick up a book to use whenever your diet confuses you and you are not sure what to eat.  A good choice is "Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How the Body Can Heal Itself."   

Dr. William Li, a heart expert and the author of the above book, has pulled together years of research to come up with specific doses of the best foods to help treat a variety of diseases. Regardless of your medical condition, it is worth reading.

Special Diets Can Benefit You

What are some of the special diets you can try following in order to help heal or slow down your disease progression?

If you have been diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, you may want to read  the book "Stopping Kidney Disease."

If you are concerned about memory loss, the MIND Diet has been proven to be helpful.  The Mediterranean Diet has been shown to improve heart health.  There are also special diets to help people who have been diagnosed with cancer and diabetes.  Reading about the correct medical-based diet for your condition can make it easier to find satisfying foods to eat.

When I took the Brain Health Class with instructors from the MIND program at the University of California, they emphasized that there were no drugs which have been discovered which will either postpone or treat most cases of dementia, but they have observed that eating a diet rich in plants, in addition to getting regular exercise, did seem to make a difference for many people.

By following the right diet and making appropriate lifestyle changes, your medications will work better and you will help your doctors perform their job, rather than hinder them.

Does Diet Really Make Much of a Difference?

Despite all the research, many people remain skeptical that following the right diet can really make that much of a difference in treating their disease.  It is important that people understand that for some diseases, such as chronic kidney disease, the right diet is the ONLY thing which can slow down the disease and help you postpone dialysis.

Diet is also extremely important in dealing with diabetes, whether or not you are taking a medication.  In 2002, researchers compared the effectiveness of diet compared to taking the medication Metformin in preventing Type 2 diabetes in people who were considered at high risk. One group of people were assigned a diet which was low in sugar, salt and saturated fat. They were also told to eat lean protein, as well as to add more fresh fruits and vegetables to their meals.  The other group was told NOT to change their diets.  Instead, they were prescribed Metformin.  Those taking Metformin lowered their risk of of later developing diabetes by 31%.  The group who changed their diets and exercised regularly lowered their risk of diabetes by 58%.  The dietary and lifestyle changes were nearly twice as effective as taking the medication alone.*

In studies performed by heart expert Dr. Dean Ornish, it was discovered that people who followed his heart-healthy program were sometimes able to reverse their heart blockages and reduce their episodes of angina.

Eating the right diet for your disease is an effective way to deal with a serious illness.  When diet, lifestyle changes, medication and other treatments are combined, it can make a significance difference in the lives of most people.

Other Lifestyle Choices Can Help Fight Disease

Of course, food is not the only lifestyle change which might help your body fight off a dangerous disease.  It is also important to follow your doctor's orders regarding exercise, alcohol or sugar consumption, lowering your stress, and ending your addiction to cigarettes or other tobacco products.  No matter what disease you have, it is important to take a holistic or whole-body approach to the healing process.

If you are interested in learning more about common medical issues as you age, Medicare, Social Security, financial planning, where to retire, travel and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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Thursday, May 31, 2012

Brain Activities to Lower Alzheimers Risk

One of the greatest fears of many Baby Boomers is that we will begin to develop senile dementia or, worse, Alzheimer's Disease.  The thought that one day we will no longer be able to remember the past, or even recognize our loved ones, is horrifying.  Consequently, many of us are looking for practical ways to decrease our Alzheimer's risk factors.

Famed television host, Dr. Oz, recently presented an Alzheimer's prevention plan, and reprinted it on his website,  Below is a summary of the suggestions he has for reducing our Alzheimer's risk.

The Dr. Oz Recommendations to Reduce Alzheimer's Risk

1.  Take 600 mg. of DHA a day.  This omega-3 fatty acid will reduce your brain inflammation, combat plaque, and increase the blood flow to your brain.

2.  Use the opposite hand to cross-train your brain.  If you are normally right handed, try using your left hand to eat, brush your teeth, comb your hair, etc.  If you are left-handed, do the opposite.  This will stimulate new parts of the brain.

3.  Practice deep breathing three times a day to lower your stress, which is very damaging to the brain.  Dr. Oz calls this system 7-7-7.  Inhale for 7 seconds; hold it for 7 seconds; exhale for 7 seconds; repeat 7 times.

4.  Practice remembering lists of items by using silly word associations.  Try to work up to 20 or even 30 items.

5.  Do push ups.  That's right, this floor exercise, which builds your core body muscles, is apparently also good for your brain.  Doing seven push-ups a day will stimulate blood flow to the brain and generate new brain cells!

6.  Follow a brain building diet which includes elderberries, pecans, chicken giblets, clams, vegetable juice (up to 8 oz. a day), and beets.  All of these foods contain nutrients that are helpful to the brain.

These actions are all generally good for our overall health, and they are easy to do at home, without a doctor's prescription.  If we can radically reduce the number of Baby Boomers who will develop Alzheimers in the future, these easy steps will be well worth it.

If you are interested in learning more about Alzheimer's and how to reduce your risk of developing this dreaded disease, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page.  They will link you to hundreds of additional articles on health issues, as well as where to retire, financial planning, changing family relationships and more.

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