Food has always brought people together, good times and bad. National Alzheimer’s Learning Day is great moment to reflect on where we came from and where we’re heading.
My mother’s door and kitchen were always open, and there she created countless memories, breaking bread and sharing conversation with those who visited her kitchen and tasted the feasts she created. I have cherished the memories of the meals she would make; drawing friends and family from all around. Those memories are especially special to me now since my attitude towards food has changed from those days when I was a young girl in my mother’s kitchen.
Daily life is different today from how it was then. It’s much more fast-paced. I’ve watched my children and grandchildren grow up in a world full of processed and convenient foods; much different from the homegrown farm foods we grew up with. Today, food can still bring us together, but it can also tear us apart through illness and disease.
I’ve thought a lot about the role food plays in our lives lately, and the role it plays in my own health. Because of my own personal experiences with health challenges I pay closer attention to the way food is prepared and whether or not it’s safe to eat. As a mom, a grandmother, a wife and a caterer, this is always on the forefront of my mind.
Diseases like Alzheimer’s or dementia, cancer, and diabetes are all thought to be linked in some way to the foods that we eat. Alzheimer’s Learning Day is great time to review some of those important stats and research completed over the past decade.
- Did you know, dementia is part of Alzheimer’s?
- Did you know diabetics are 65% more at risk for showing signs of dementia or developing Alzheimer’s?
- Did you know food, and more importantly, how it’s processed before and after consumption seem to be a vital key to protecting a healthy brain?
In fact, reports from as early as 2012 show food plays a significant role in our health and the development of these diseases. It also highlights whether certain foods can helps fight or prevent their development or how certain foods could even decrease your ability to fight against debilitating symptoms of those diseases.
While it’s not great news to me to know the foods I’ve eaten over the years may have been harming me, I acknowledge this knowledge empowers me with the ability to do something about it. Studies in recent years have shown that a Mediterranean diet; with focus on vegetables, fish, and whole grains, may help combat a variety of diseases or slow their progression.
Something else I’ve started to consider is the reported number of toxins we carry in our bodies from poor-quality or overly-processed foods along with a lack of healthy vitamins and minerals, and how this contributes to the growth rate of disease, mental disorders and overall poor health. These ideas are supported by respected nutritional doctors, Dr. Mercola and Dr. Christopher Shade, who say Vitamin C and Vitamin B12 are good examples of common vitamin deficiencies in our diets effecting brain health. Additionally, there’s an increasing number of heavy metal toxins found in our bodies due to poor water quality and medications commonly used causing an adverse or negative effect to developing brain health.
I’ll always have those wonderful memories made in my mother’s kitchen but knowing food is bit more complicated than it seemed back when I was growing up on the farm can help possibly prevent sickness and disease as the years go by.
September 21st is Alzheimer’s Learning Day.
There is still so much doctors and scientists still don’t know about Alzheimer’s Disease, but it’s becoming clearer that in addition to our genetics, the foods we may be eating throughout our lifetime has a profound effect on how dementia and Alzheimer’s develops.
Think about that Mediterranean diet – fish, shellfish, colorful vegetables like red peppers and lemon, a little bit of fatty oils like pure olive oil, a few nuts, and beans. Then take it a step further and avoid breads and grains whenever possible, overly fatty or processed meats. Limit your dairy and stick with whole Greek Yogurts vs. processed yogurts with more chemicals and sugars. Think “whole foods”, less with dies and preservatives. Think eggs. AND – stay hydrated!
It sounds more difficult in today’s fast-paced world, but with a little planning, a few good ‘stand-by’ recipes, and practice, you can make mealtime planning with friends and family fun and easy, and even make dinner time more quickly when you plan ahead.
Join me and take the pledge to participate in #AlzheimersLearningDay, September 21st.