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Nutrition plays a big role in overall health of a person. The right foods can bring down your risk of many chronic diseases. Cognitive decline is today a growing concern of the scientific community. Many people are falling prey to age-related diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's because of the pressures of modern life and an unhealthy lifestyle. Today, on the occasion of National Nutrition Week, we explore the relationship between nutrition and cognitive health. Alzheimer's is a progressive condition that can be traumatic for both patients and caregivers. But the right nutrition can help you bring down your risk of this condition significantly.
According to a new study at Wake Forest School of Medicine, specific fungi in the gut associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's disease and found in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) can be altered in a beneficial manner by eating a modified Mediterranean diet. The small study is published in the current online edition of the journal EBioMedicine. Researchers say that this study reveals that unique fungi co-living with bacteria in the gut of patients with MCI can be modulated through diet.
In the single-center, randomized, double-blind crossover pilot study, researchers identified the organisms in the gut microbiome by sequencing the fungal rRNA ITS1 gene in 17 older adults (11 with diagnosed MCI and six with normal cognition) before and after a six-week intervention of a modified Mediterranean ketogenic diet or the American Heart Association Diet to determine its correlation with Alzheimer's markers in cerebrospinal fluid and gut bacteria.
Although experts do not fully understand how these fungi contribute to Alzheimer's disease, this is the first study of its kind to reveal their role in mental health. Researchers are hopeful that this will ignite thinking in the scientific community to develop better understanding of them in relation to Alzheimer's disease. The study also indicates that dietary habits such as eating a ketogenic diet can reduce harmful fungi in the gut which might help in reducing Alzheimer's disease processes in the brain.
As we observe National Nutrition Week, let us take a look at a few foods that can help you avoid or, at least, delay Alzheimer's disease.
The right foods can play a huge role in preventing cognitive impairment. There are many foods that you can include in a brain-healthy diet. Eat a lot of fatty fish. These contain omega-3 fatty acids that are good for your brain. Healthy fats in olive oil, avocado, nuts and seeds can also boost your cognition and keep your brain fit and healthy for a long time. Include these in your regular diet. You must also have a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains. Avoid junk food and processed meat. Sugar and excess salt can also adversely affect your health. The trick is to be conscious of what you are eating and keeping an eye on portions. This will boost overall health, which, in turn, will boost your cognitive health.