Hope for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease has been among our most dreaded diseases for many years because it’s so common as people get older and because there has been no effective treatment for it. No medication has yet been found that can prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Dean and Ayesha Sherzai are directors of the Brain Health and Alzheimer’s Prevention Program at Loma Linda University. Both are M.D. neuroscientists who have done research with many thousands of patients. Loma Linda town has a large Seventh-Day Adventist community, making it an ideal place to study the impact of a healthy diet and lifestyle on brain health.

The Sherzai team wrote The Alzheimer’s Solution in 2017. They followed it up with The 30-Day Alzheimer’s Solution: The Definitive Food and Lifestyle Guide to Preventing Cognitive Decline in 2021. Both books provide good information about Alzheimer’s disease. More recently (in April 2022), they updated their research findings in an interview with John Robbins.

The brain has millions of tiny capillaries providing support to cells throughout the brain. Damage to this microcirculation is harmful to brain function and is probably a factor in causing Alzheimer’s disease. More research is needed to unravel all the contributing factors to Alzheimer’s disease.

Yet the Sherzai research shows that 90 percent of Alzheimer’s cases can be prevented. Three percent of Alzheimer’s is genetically determined, but even those cases can be postponed for years. A healthy lifestyle is the secret to successful prevention.

Key guidelines to nourish a healthy brain include good nutrition, well-balanced exercise and rest, good personal hygiene, good social relationships, and minimization of chronic stress. These guidelines are not complicated. Why do many people fail?

The answer is complicated, but the stress of modern life and seductive foods lead many astray. Fast foods are convenient and tasty. Sugar and salt are used heavily in highly processed foods. Both are addicting and both damage health.

Alcoholic beverages are another risk factor. Such drinks may be socially stimulating, but they are known to be damaging to all living cells. For optimum brain health, it’s best to avoid or minimize them.

Saturated fat found in meat, eggs, and dairy foods is a big risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. The evidence for this is so strong that it motivated Dean Sherzai to stop eating meat. The Sherzais recommend avoiding all animal protein sources except for wild-caught small fish such as sardines.

Salt, in the quantity used in many processed foods, is a contributing factor to high blood pressure. This in turn is a serious risk factor for heart, stroke, and other health problems. Adding more salt at the table increases that risk.

Ayesha Sherzai calls sugar the poison of the modern era. Seductively sweet, it damages the inner lining of our arteries. Cholesterol plaques form in those inflamed areas, raising the risk of heart disease and strokes. Sugar also damages many other tissues.

It’s hard to overcome sugar seduction. I know this from my own experience, but I learned that the natural sweetness in fruit satisfies my sweet tooth. You can find all kinds of good food when you commit to eating healthfully.

Following are three good reasons to embrace healthy eating and living:

1.) Maintain a keen, clear mind, even in old age.

2.) Minimize threats of heart attack, stroke, and many other chronic diseases.

3.) Enjoy the rich variety of foods found in plant-strong eating.

Vegetables and fruit offer a great variety of tastes and choices. Rich in nutrients, but low in calories, they normalize weight instead of causing weight gain. It is fun to explore and enjoy the rich variety of choices they offer. I love eating all kinds of fruit and vegetables and look forward to every meal.

The bottom line? We now know Alzheimer’s disease is largely preventable through life-enhancing ways of life. Enjoy healthy living!