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Are You Putting These Dementia Causing Chemicals in Your Body?

Dana Larsen
By Dana LarsenAugust 14, 2012

Ignorance is bliss, but not when common ingredients and foods are being linked to dementia. According to a recent study from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, the ingredient used to produce the buttery flavor and smell in microwave popcorn, margarine, candy and baked goods is now being linked to Alzheimer’s disease. Learn more.

Studies show that Americans could be exposing themselves on a regular basis to many harmful substances, some found in the ingredients and  foods we love most. Read about the impact these substances have been found to have on the body and mind.

Chemical Buildup: Why We’re at Risk for Alzheimer’s

DA, a chemical which has previously been linked to respiratory problems in employees at microwave popcorn and food-flavoring factories, has recently been found to have a structure similar to the substance that creates beta-amyloid plaques — an indication of Alzheimer’s and dementia in the brain.

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Researchers found that DA has toxic effects on nerve cells by clumping beta-amyloid proteins together to  form plaques. So the DA chemical — a common ingredient in many enjoyable foods —  definitely has a link to Alzheimer’s, and the candy, baked goods, margarine and popcorn that all line the shelves at grocery stores.

DA is also naturally created in fermented drinks like beer, and gives some chardonnay wines their “buttery taste.” Although most believe moderation is key, recent findings show these foods weren’t very nutritious to begin with.

Other Alzheimer’s Contributor Foods

Unfortunately, DA isn’t the only substance found to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s.

Dr. Oz lists these foods as being associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia:

1. Meats

Meats such as bacon, smoked turkey from the deli counter and ham have all been linked to Alzheimer’s. All of these smoked meats contain nitrosamines which cause the liver to produce fats that are toxic to the brain and may be associated with Alzheimer’s.

2. Processed Foods

Processed foods, especially cheeses, such as American cheese, mozzarella sticks, Cheez whiz and other processed cheese are linked to protein buildups associated with Alzheimer’s.

3. Beer

As mentioned above, many processed beers contain nitrites, putting them on the “watch list” for Alzheimer’s. You can try to find beers without nitrites, but it is difficult as most beers do not have an ingredient list.

4. White Food

White flour, including white cakes, bread, pasta, rice and sugar are all foods that can increase your insulin intake and send toxins to your brain.

Healthy Foods That Help Combat Alzheimer’s Disease

The Rush Institute for Healthy Aging discovered that foods rich in vitamin E are associated with a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

Those foods include:

  • Oil-based salad dressings
  • Fortified cereals
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Cantaloupe
  • Seeds
  • Nuts

Rush also discovered that people who eat fish at least once a week are 60% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who rarely or never ate fish. The key ingredient, the Rush team believes, is the n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in fish.

Where Do We Go From Here?

Moderation is key. But, just being in tune with our body’s needs and thinking of food as fuel is important.

Splurging is okay, every once in awhile, if we’re cognizant of what’s important for actual nourishment. Of course, healthy exercise and socialization at home or in memory care can also help.

Are you combating Alzheimer’s with your diet? What brain healthy foods are you eating? We would love to hear your story in the comments below.

Dana Larsen
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Dana Larsen
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