Diet is a crucial part of a healthy lifestyle, and is a crucial modifiable factor related to dementia risk. The close connection between high blood sugar and Alzheimer’s disease (the most common form of dementia) has even been backed by many studies conducted in the last few years. According to research, there’s a twofold increase in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s for people with type 2 diabetes. This can be attributed to the unmanaged blood sugar and insulin levels. Remember that reduced refined sugar and refined carbs is associated with lesser chances of getting dementia, of course in combination with other factors like exercising well, managing stress well, cutting down on alcohol consumption, avoiding smoking, etc. For people who already have been diagnosed with dementia, reducing refined sugar and carbs can actually help the condition from worsening and may as well improve the condition.
Dementia is a progressive condition, and one might be in need of professional care as the condition progresses. Such high-level care is only possible at a reputable assisted living Anthem facility, where you can expect for your loved one to benefit immensely from the care, support and activities offered in assisted living and memory care.
Ways sugar affects the brain:
- High blood sugar hastens the aging process by putting the cardiovascular system in jeopardy, causing heart disease. This same process affects the brain as well. Also, high blood sugar stimulates insulin production, and excess insulin can be quite troublesome.
- There is an insulin-degrading enzyme that helps to get rid of excess insulin in the brain, as well as amyloid. But if the enzyme busies itself with just clearing out the insulin, over time amyloid would accumulate in the brain, which play a central role in Alzheimer’s disease. The amyloid plaques first build up in the areas of the brain connected to memory and other cognitive functions.
- There are no symptoms initially with amyloid plaques accumulating in the brain, with accumulations of tau protein (called tangles) and inflammation tagging along with it. High levels of tau protein are associated with cognitive decline.
Here are some ways to control blood sugar to keep dementia at bay:
Research on the link between blood sugar and dementia is still ongoing, but here’s a list of ways to keep your blood sugar in control
- The most important step to take is to lower your consumption of refined or processed foods, for example, fruit juices, white rice, sweet treats like cookies, cakes, pastries, etc., and white bread, bagels and pasta as they are made with refined flour.
- Steer clear of artificial sweeteners, which can set off insulin release.
- Then there is stress, dehydration, caffeine, and changes in medications, which can also interfere with the body’s ability to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Tips to take care of both your ticker and brain, which, in turn, will reduce the risk of heart disease, and Alzheimer’s and dementia respectively:
- Eat a healthy diet comprising whole, unprocessed fruits and vegetables, and grains, and incorporate unprocessed meats, fish, and fats (olive oil) too.
- Completely avoid foods with added sugar and processed carbs.
- Keep your weight in a healthy range, since obesity puts one at an increased risk for type 2 diabetes, and is also closely connected to decreased brain function and dementia.
- Keep your blood pressure in check.
- Exercise for at least 30 minutes every day to manage your blood sugar levels.