Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease that gets worse over time and is the most common form of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, it is a disease that normally affects people over 65, however, 5% of sufferers have early-onset Alzheimer’s, meaning that they are only in their 40s or 50s.
It is estimated that more than 26 million people worldwide suffer from Alzheimer’s, as reported by Waking Times, and that by 2050 this figure will quadruple.
At present there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, but an increasing number of studies support the idea that “superfoods” such as blueberries might be able to help fight the onset and progression of the disease. According to Medical Xpress, blueberries are already known to lower the risk of heart disease and cancer, but new research has shown that they might be a useful way of preventing Alzheimer’s disease and its associated symptoms.
Blueberries as a super fruit
According to FitDay, blueberries have gained super fruit status because of their high concentrations of antioxidants and phytonutrients. These compounds have been linked to preventing cell damage by neutralizing radicals, while also preventing inflammation and protecting against cancer and chronic heart disease.
Inflammation is a known cause of Alzheimer’s, and new research from the University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center has shown that “blueberries can have a real benefit in improving memory and cognitive function in some older adults,” according to Robert Krikorian, PhD, leader of the research team.
As reported by Medical Xpress, blueberries also contain flavonoids known as anthocyanins, which have been shown to improve brain function and slow down brain aging in animal studies.
Meanwhile, according to FitDay, blueberries are also thought to reverse short-term memory loss, and their antioxidants can improve motor skills. These antioxidants include anthocyanins, proanthocyanins, resveratrol, flavonols and tannins – all of which have been linked to preventing the growth of cancer cells.
But the power of blueberries goes beyond their antioxidant content – they also contain a wealth of vitamins that are important to the health of your whole body, such as vitamin A which is vital for your eyesight.
Turmeric also an Alzheimer’s-fighting superfood
A recent study focusing around the use of turmeric powder as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s has had surprising results, as reported by Waking Times. After three months of treatment, the patients studied being showed an improvement in their symptoms, and the report in the Indian journal Ayu states that “in one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points… they came to recognize their family within 1 year [of] treatment.” Could it really be the case that this popular spice most commonly found in the kitchen also has a place in the medicine cupboard?
To date, there are 114 different studies which show indications that turmeric has neuroprotective properties, and two in particular show that one of the compounds – curcumin – can enhance the clearance of pathological brain plaque, as well as inhibit the development of Alzheimer’s.
The benefits of natural treatments for Alzheimer’s are undeniable, and these studies show that we should always look to Mother Nature as well as modern medicine when treating disease.
Studies have recently found a link between a common prostate cancer treatment and Alzheimer’s which is thought to as much as double the likelihood of patients developing Alzheimer’s. While this isn’t yet confirmed, it is something that oncologists are now taking into account when deciding what treatment is best for prostate cancer. Should doctors be looking for more natural ways to intervene with – and cure – diseases?