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Living Well in Yalobusha County

Healthy Eating and Exercise May Help Brain Health

According to a 2016 report in the Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease every 66 seconds. While research on the exact causes of Alzheimer’s and how to prevent this disease is inconclusive, epidemiological studies show that regular physical activity and a healthy diet may help support brain health. These are the same lifestyle changes that also decrease the risk of heart disease and diabetes, which reinforces the belief that an overall healthy lifestyle has a major impact on chronic disease.

Oxidative stress can lead to cellular damage throughout the body, including possibly increasing the development of amyloid plaques that are found in the brain in people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Important antioxidants that help reverse this damage include vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and polyphenols. B vitamins including folic acid, B6, and B12 have been shown to limit oxidative stress and also lower homocysteine levels which have been associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Use the chart above to find the foods rich in these nutrients to reduce your risk today.

 

Nutrients to Combat Oxidative Stress


Vitamin A and Beta-Carotene

Great sources: cantaloupe, carrots, collard greens, spinach, mango, and sweet potato;


 Vitamin C

Great sources: bell peppers, broccoli, collard greens, grapefruit, oranges, raspberries, blackberries, spinach, and strawberries;


Vitamin E

Great sources: spinach, broccoli, vegetable oils (like wheat germ, sunflower, and safflower oils), almonds, hazelnuts, and sunflower seeds;

 
Selenium

Great sources: Brazil nuts, tuna, herring, turkey, chicken, cottage cheese, spinach, and whole grains;

 
Polyphenols

Great sources: grapes, apples, pears, cherries, and berries;


Nutrients to Lower Homocysteine Levels


 Folate

Great sources: asparagus, Brussels sprouts, spinach, mustard greens, oranges, peanuts, black-eyed peas and kidney beans, and whole grains


 Vitamin B6

Great sources: chickpeas, tuna, salmon, chicken, turkey, potatoes, and bananas


Vitamin B12

Great sources: seafood, poultry, meat, eggs, and milk.


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