Who doesn’t want to avoid dementia? Anyone who has lost their keys, walked into a room and can’t remember why, who has forgotten someone’s name or started making lists because of forgetfulness, understands the importance of brain function.
When memory starts to go and details become fuzzy it can be very upsetting, especially for someone who has seen the effects of dementia first hand in a friend or relative.
Research has been focusing on ways to reduce the risk for dementia and as it turns out, what you eat has an effect on your quality of thinking.
Giving up sugar can be quite difficult as it is in everything. It's in your dessert. It's in chocolate, fruit, yogurt, coffee drinks, and milk.
Unfortunately, it appears that the more sugar a person consumes subsequently increasing blood sugar levels, the higher the risk for brain shrinkage in the memory center known as the hippocampus.
In a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found cognitive decline in blood sugars in the range of 105-110 mg/dL.
Many labs still report 110 mg/dL as the upper end of “normal” but an ideal blood sugar should be under 100 mg/dL and optimally in the 80s mg/dL fasting. Levels over 126 mg/dL are considered diabetic.
Additionally, Dr. David Perlmutter in his book "Grain Brain" demonstrated how gluten increases inflammation in a large number of people who either are celiac, have a gluten allergy, and/or have a gluten sensitivity that is non-celiac.
Research has found that gluten can be just as much a neurologic problem as an intestinal problem. It can cause issues that include increased anxiety, depression, balance problems, motion sickness. It can bring on multiple sclerosis-type symptoms, brain fog, epilepsy and vertigo (spinning sensation). It can be responsible for poor coordination, bipolar disorder and, of course, memory issues.
Does this mean diet changes are in order?
Reducing or eliminating sugar intake is critical for preventing pre-diabetes and diabetes. If dementia is a concern then getting blood sugar under 100 mg/dL is a start.