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Diabetes is a significant condition that can lead to transformative and potentially fatal outcomes if left unmanaged, including blindness, amputation, heart disease, obesity, and damaged blood vessels, among others. Additionally, recent research has established that uncontrolled diabetes, especially type 2, frequently results in Alzheimer's disease

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Although the exact connection isn't entirely understood, a significant link exists between the health of the heart and the brain. If one is not functioning correctly or starts to decline, the other might follow suit. In fact, this correlation is so commonly observed that some scientists have begun to call Alzheimer's "Type 3 Diabetes". Therefore, if you or a loved one has been formally diagnosed with type 2 Diabetes, it's crucial to adhere to an optimal diet that will help manage diabetes, nourish your heart and brain, and simultaneously minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer's or any other form of dementia.

Outlined below are some of the key dietary changes to incorporate into your daily regimen, as well as those to avoid as much as possible to lower your risk of dementia and Alzheimer's.

Leafy Greens Abundant in Fiber and Folate

Most scientists, physicians, and dietitians concur that green leafy vegetables are one of the most crucial foods in combating both diabetes and dementia due to their significant positive impact on cognitive health.

Recent research evaluating the effect of fruit and vegetable consumption on cognitive decline found that among all, green leafy vegetables provided the most protection due to their high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These vegetables are also rich in folate, and the studies uncovered encouraging evidence suggesting that higher blood concentrations of folate may also offer enhanced protection against dementia or Alzheimer's. These vegetables include:

● Kale
● Spinach
● Cabbage
● Collards
● Chard
● Romaine lettuce
● Arugula
● Leaf lettuce
● Watercress
● Bok choy

Alternatively, if you find many of the leafy greens unpalatable, you can take a daily folate supplement instead.

Mono-Unsaturated Fats from Avocado and Olive Oil

Avocados and olive oil, known for their nutritional benefits, should be a staple in any diet. The healthy fats found in avocados provide clean energy for your body without causing spikes in blood sugar levels. Avocados are packed with beneficial monounsaturated fats. Numerous studies have shown that individuals who consume more monounsaturated and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats have a lower likelihood of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia.

Olive oil is another well-known source of healthy fats and is central to some of the most effective diets for preventing dementia and Alzheimer's. What's great about these healthy fats is their ability to be used as a cleaner energy source by the body. Unlike carbohydrates, which are converted into glucose, fats transform into harmless ketones.

The monounsaturated fats, or "good" fats in olive oil, can also help reduce overall cholesterol levels. Consuming more monounsaturated fats increases your HDL (good cholesterol) levels and decreases your LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Additionally, there's a direct connection between bad cholesterol and Alzheimer's disease. Higher levels of good cholesterol help regulate beta-amyloid proteins, which form plaques and contribute to disease development.

Fatty Fish or Nuts Rich in Omega-3 Fats

Fish is a vital component of diets aimed at fighting Alzheimer's and dementia, offering patients an infusion of lean protein, essential omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats. Long-standing studies and research strongly suggest that individuals who consume more fish may experience less cognitive decline as they age.

Several types of fish are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including:

● Salmon
● Sardines
● Herring
● Mackerel
● Cod
● Tuna

These fish are also excellent sources of vitamin B12, which can positively impact brain health and cognitive function. Surprisingly, scientists have found that some types of dementia can be reversed by taking vitamin B12 supplements.

Moreover, patients with Alzheimer's often have a deficiency in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of omega-3 fatty acid. Consequently, it's clear that consuming omega-3-rich fish could help protect against dementia and Alzheimer's while also enhancing brain function.

Alternatively, for those who adhere to a strict vegetarian or vegan diet, nuts are also packed with omega-3's that safeguard your brain health, as well as being beneficial for cardiovascular health. A long-term study involving women over 70 found that those who consumed five or more servings of nuts each week had better cognitive function than those who didn't. The study also determined that participants who ate more nuts exhibited superior language skills, recalled the names of different objects better, and maintained their focus for longer periods.

Berries and Sugar-Free Green Tea

Berries, especially strawberries and blueberries, are excellent dietary choices due to their health-promoting properties, which have demonstrated effectiveness against both diabetes and dementia. Similar to green tea, berries are also abundant in beneficial flavonoids. They are packed with:

● Antioxidants
● Anti-inflammatory compounds
● Fiber (a prebiotic)
● Vitamins (including vitamin C)
● Minerals

Scientists have found direct correlations between the consumption of berries and improved brain health. One study revealed that participants enhanced their memory by simply consuming a glass of blueberry juice every day. Another study discovered that individuals who consumed more strawberries were less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

Substances and Foods to Steer Clear Of

It's important to limit or completely remove the following items from your diet due to their detrimental effects on brain health, blood sugar levels, and heart health:

Any food or substance containing added sugar, trans fats, simple carbohydrates, white flour, highly processed foods, grains, high-fat cheeses, as well as excessive amounts of salt and alcohol.

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