*Disclaimer- I took this title from Dr Michael Greger's book - How Not To Die which is an incredibly insightful book about common diseases and how these can be prevented through plant based Nutrition and healthy lifestyle choices. If you have read it and want to live well, read it. Dr Greger is the founder of Nutritionfacts.org *
Such a title is a little dramatic however, the truth of it is we are all dying. My thoughts journalled this week is a pragmatic approach about how not to speed up this process through shitty lifestyle habits and mindlessly floating along in life. Living consciously and maintaining a healthy lifestyle needn't be hard, nor should we take for granted that it wont happen to us.
Its a sore subject for me this week and will continue to be as my own fathers rapidly declining health is direct result of lifestyle choices. For this reason I choose to lean into the uncomfortable, explore my own susceptibility via genetics to diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer's and share my knowledge on ' how not to die'.
Events that are experienced one day, are forgotten the next. The neural pathways are blocked and messages to store memories can't pass. Confusion, forgetfulness and inability to remember has sufferer's creating their own narrative. This can be frustrating and emotionally draining for family and friends.
This is Alzheimer's- The reality is due to the fatally damaged neural pathways, there is no cure. We can only work towards halting the progression and the truth is, the damage has already been done with the disease taking our loved ones personalities. They become withdrawn, paranoid and behaviour changes and slips into a child like state. Simple tasks are increasingly difficult and hygiene starts to slip.
' Like most disease, we are either feeding it
or fighting them through the dietary and lifestyle choices we make.'
It is preventable. Like most diseases we are either feeding it or fighting them through the Dietary and lifestyle choices we make. Alcohol, highly processed foods, overeating, sugars and a sedentary lifestyle are all contributing factors to developing not only Alzheimer's but some of the numerous diseases that are rife in today's society.
There is emerging consensus that what is good for our hearts is good for our heads (brains). Autopsies have shown significant 'plaque' build up and narrowing of arteries in the brain of Alzheimer's sufferer's much the same as a heart attack victims.
For this reason " Dietary and Lifestyle Guidelines for the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease" published in Neurology of Aging was " Vegetables such as beans, peas and lentils, whole grains and fruits should replace meat and dairy as primary staples of our diets".
Genetic disease or diet & lifestyle?
Whilst we may be predisposed to certain diseases, research shows that it is our environment, lifestyle choices and nutrition that play a significant role in whether or not these gene's are 'switched on' or not. This can be depicted in studies that show the risks of developing disease based on where you live. ? The lowest rates are in direct correlation to their plant-based diets that centre on vegetables and grains.
To simplify, I've created a list below based on the research of what to eat and what to avoid. It looks a like this;
Eat a diet high in Vegetables. Think the rainbow- all colours provide different Vitamins and the diversity is key to absorbing the range. Dark green leafy are best
Fruits such as berries offer highest anti-oxidants and prevent 'rusting' your brain. Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries - you get the point!
Whole fruits over juice- ingest the fibre that allows digestive system to function at optimal level
Green Tea- antibacterial, antimicrobial and boost immunity to assist in detoxification through environment
Whole grain & Legumes- rice, quinoa, teff, chickpeas, lentils, beans, peas - beans in particular reduce cholesterol significantly.
Nuts and seeds- diversity is key as they all have different nutritional profiles that are incredibly health promoting. Walnut's are to be one of the best for our brain, as they look like one!
Reduce animal meat intake and dairy products- studies have shown that the higher the intake the more inflammation, disease and risk of developing certain cancers.
Processed food, high in saturated fats, think deep fried, highly processed with sugars, salts and preservative.
Reduce pasta, breads and processed biscuits, cakes etc.
Artificial colours and flavours
Excessive alcohol consumption is directly linked to degenerative brain disease that leads to alcohol related dementia.
It is also important to consider how we are cooking food. By BBQ'ing/ smoking and frying we are changing the chemical compound of foods and can increase the risk of oxidative stress and carcinogens in which we ingest.
Eat raw where possible or lightly sauteed, steamed, roasted or poached.
Eat well, move your body and live consciously. Want to know more?
Group Hikes are centered on Nutritional education, Mindfulness Practices and how stepping out into Nature can optimize our health.
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