On the Coast – Over 55 Issue 26 I November/December 2018 - Page 15

for at least 6 months. This treatment plan can also be used to prevent cognitive decline. Dietary guidelines include eliminating refined sugar and white carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, pasta, potatoes) and following a generally low carbohydrate diet. In Alzheimer’s disease, a substance called beta-amyloid accumulates between the nerve cells in the brain, destroys communication between the cells and then forms plaques that can lead to destruction of the nerve cells. More natural treatments focus on preventative care and avoiding the formation of these plaques. For example according to Dr Bredesen, 12 hour fasting overnight, including the 3 hours before bed can reduce insulin and amyloid beta which contributes to the formation of amyloid plaques. Other than eating low carbohydrate/ refined sugar diet, other things that may improve cognitive function include: ƒ ƒ Coconut oil which is high in medium chain fatty acids (MCTs) and taking a 30ml shot 1-2 daily. It is important to be aware that for some individuals, high coconut oil consumption may increase cholesterol levels. ƒ ƒ DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) is a structural fatty acid required by the central nervous system and is required for optimal brain function. ƒ ƒ Curcumin which is an active constituent of turmeric is showing potential benefits in the treatment/ “Diet and lifestyle choices can affect our cognitive health and the development of associated diseases such as Alzheimer's disease. ” ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ ƒ prevention of Alzheimer’s due to it’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activity. Increasing hydration Exercising 30-60mins a minimum of four days per week can reduce brain atrophy in the elderly. Increasing the heart rate increases circulation which is important for blood flow to the brain. Increase brain training – much easier these days with many free Apps available as well as good old fashioned crosswords and Sudoku. Playing a musical instrument is also an effective way to integrate left and right brain activity. 8 hours good quality sleep is important for resting and oxygenation to the brain. Sleep apnoea needs to be addressed and for some, taking melatonin before bed can improve restlessness. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy can also be useful to increase oxygen circulation and uptake. Antioxidants are protective against cognitive decline as well as many other inflammatory disease processes so eating an abundance of antioxidant rich foods such as fresh vegetables, as well as possibly taking additional vitamin E, C and alpha lipoic acid can provide the body with good antioxidants. ƒ ƒ Herbal medicine such as Bacopa monniera and Gingko biloba may be beneficial by increasing blood flow to the brain. ƒ ƒ Avoid exposure to toxic chemicals such as pesticides and cigarette smoke. Recent studies have suggested there may be a link between popular medications prescribed for heartburn and reflux (proton pump inhibitors eg Nexium and H2 blockers eg Zantac) and increased risk of dementia. It is always important to address the cause of a condition so symptomatic relief is not relied upon for long term use. If hyperacidity in the stomach is an issue, the cause of the hyperacidity needs to be addressed as well as the symptomatic relief. Prevention is definitely better than cure, especially when considering cognitive decline so it makes sense to address a healthy diet and lifestyle now. Not only will it more than likely reduce risk factors for developing disease, it will make the ageing process less stressful and more enjoyable physically, mentally and emotionally. Diana Arundell is a university-qualified naturopath and consults from her Avoca Naturopath clinic. She has a special interest in fertility and pregnancy health, digestive health, immune function and family wellness programs. She was a nutrition lecturer at Macquarie University for 10 years, and is an accredited Journey Practitioner. For further information please contact Diana Arundell at Avoca Naturopath on 0410 465 900. FREE CERVICAL SCREENING CLINIC Confidential Free Service Provided by Female GPs These services provided are: • HPV test – previously a pap smear • Breast Checks Central Coast Primary Care is a Registered Provider for NDIS. Provider # 4050003930 The Cervical Screening Outreach Clinic Wyong Central Community Health Centre To book your FREE appointment Level 1, 38a Pacific Highway, Wyong Open every Wednesday 9am–4pm Call 4365 2294 The Clinic is a joint initiative between Central Coast Primary Care and the Central Coast Local Health District Appointments are essential NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 – ISSUE 26 15