Pat Summitt and Alzheimer’s Disease
I want to address Pat Summitt and Alzheimer’s Disease. Pat Summitt coached more winning college basketball games than any other coach in college basketball history… men’s or women’s! Pat succumbed to early onset Alzheimer’s Disease last week at the age of 64. She had been diagnosed 5 years ago at the age of 59, but continued to coach despite doctor’s warnings she should retire immediately. Pat Summit was one tough lady, but it makes me wonder about our world today and why so many of us are being stricken with Alzheimer’s and dementia. My own mother died of end stage dementia, and I can tell you from personal experience, it is not an easy road for anyone involved. With prevention on my mind, let’s talk about brain health; the low fat/no fat years, the other problems that craze has caused and what you can do today to protect your own brain health.
Did you know your brain is 60% fat? I suppose that means when you call someone a “fat head”, it’s not really an insult, but instead is incredibly accurate. That being said, let’s talk about what the low fat/no fat craze of recent decades has done to our health. Ancel Keys back in the day warned us about cholesterol and the dangers of consuming certain kinds of fats. Thinking they would help us stay healthier, we began to buy and consume the low fat/no fat products the processed food industry created. Unfortunately, this really back fired. What we have done is starve our brains of the healthy fats they need to function and to remain whole and healthy throughout our lives.
An additional problem was created in that when you remove fat from food, you also remove flavor. It turns out that fat actually has a lot of flavor; it makes food taste good! The processed food industry had to find a way to replace the flavor they had removed, so they added sugar and salt (in massive amounts) to make the low fat/no fat processed foods taste good. In addition to starving our brains, we have been consuming massive amounts of sugar and salt, contributing in large part to the obesity and diabetes epidemic we now face and the massive health problems those diseases bring to us all.
What can and should we all be doing to help our brains stay young and vital? There are a few easy things you can start doing today. Stay active! Keep learning… a new language, a new craft, read books, subscribe to a brain training site like Lumosity or Fit Brains & have fun playing games to challenge your brain’s sharpness. Change your eating habits. Be sure to eliminate processed foods (that you may be addicted too) that contain massive amounts of sugar, salt and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats. Learn how to read labels so you know what you’re eating and can see past the trickery of processed food labeling.
Finally, eat healthy fats like avocados and olives. Use olive or avocado oil when cooking as they have higher smoke points (they remain stable) than other oils. Don’t use canola oil! It has long been touted as a healthy oil; it is not! Did you know there is a link between which oils you ingest and depression? There is, and I wrote a post about it to help you understand.
As you can see, there is real danger for our brains in the world in which we live, but there are simple actions you can take today to protect and preserve your brain health!
Helping you achieve Major Wellness in your life!
Cheryl A Major, CNWC