Eating basil can slow cognitive decline and protect the brain from Alzheimer’s. This conclusion was made by scientists from the University of South Florida. How the correct diet can protect from the development of such a disease and which foods should be especially avoided – in the material of “Izvestia”.
What scientists have found
The use of sweet basil can slow the decline in cognitive functions, according to scientists from the University of South Florida. In the leaves of the plant, they found the natural compound fenchol, which may protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. This effect is related to the mechanisms of its perception by the gut microbiome.
As part of the study, scientists monitored the interactions between the brain and gut at the molecular level to determine how it affects brain health and cognitive decline. It turned out that the free fatty acid receptor 2 (FFAR2) is activated by short-chain fatty acids from the intestine. And it is these acids that play a key role in maintaining brain health, and in Alzheimer’s disease, their supply is depleted.
“Our study was the first to show that stimulating the FFAR2 sensing mechanism by these microbial metabolites may be useful in protecting brain cells from the toxic beta-amyloid protein that increases in Alzheimer’s,” explained Professor Hariom Yadav, who led the study.
It is fenchol that stimulates the FFRAR2 receptor best of all, which gives basil a specific aroma. Experiments on humans and mice have shown a significant reduction in the risk of amyloid plaque formation in the brain and neutron death when this receptor is stimulated.
The Role of Nutrition in the Development of Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is a degenerative disorder of the brain with progressive impairment of memory and mental performance. This disease is the most common type of dementia. Early symptoms of Alzheimer’s include mild memory problems and mild executive impairment. However, over time, the situation worsens: a person begins to experience more and more problems with memory, remembers new information worse and worse, his coordination of movements may be impaired, moreover, he may stop recognizing relatives and friends. In the last stage of the disease, the patient loses the ability to take care of himself on his own.
Today it is widely known that the main cause of Alzheimer’s disease is the accumulation of amyloid plaques in the brain tissue. However, in September of this year, Australian scientists also found that amyloid protein, which is produced by the liver, can also cause neurodegeneration and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. That is why, according to scientists, changes in the structure of food can reduce the level of formation of this protein.
“ While further research is needed, this finding shows that an abundance of toxic protein deposits in the blood could potentially be eliminated with a low-fat diet and certain drugs that, by acting on lipoprotein amyloid, reduce the risk of developing or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, ” said a professor at Curtin University. and Director of the Health Innovation Research Institute, John Mamo, who led the study.
How healthy eating can help
Scientists regularly conduct research on the influence on the development of Alzheimer’s disease of certain foods or habits. Thus, experts at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York have established that excessive alcohol consumption can lead to an early onset or severe course of this disease.
According to scientists from the Australian National University, fried foods and fast food are among the foods that pose a risk to the brain due to the high content of trans fats, which cause decreased brain activity. Spicy foods and spices can negatively affect memory and even reduce mental abilities, their Australian colleagues from the University of South Australia are sure. And scientists from China have found that preservatives, salt and saturated fatty acids, which are especially abundant in sausages, meat products and cheese, also pose a danger to the brain.
So how do you eat to keep yourself from developing Alzheimer’s disease as much as possible? According to a study by scientists from the Rush University College of Medicine in Chicago, special diets can reduce this risk.
– Some people have enough plaque and tangles in their brains to make a postmortem diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but they do not develop clinical dementia. Some have the ability to support cognitive function despite the accumulation of these pathologies in the brain, and our research demonstrates that the MIND diet supports cognitive function regardless of brain pathologies, said Assistant Professor, Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Rush College, Claudian M.D. Dhana.
The study itself began in 1997, and 569 Chicago residents over 65 took part in it. For years, scientists have analyzed their diet and health status until death. The main focus of the observations was to assess the degree of volunteers’ adherence to the MIND diet. Under such a nutrition program, a person needs to consume at least three servings of whole grains, green salad, vegetables, nuts and beans every day (or at least every other day). Add poultry and berries to the diet at least twice a week, and fish at least once. At the same time, it is necessary to reduce the consumption of the following foods: red meat, margarine, cheese, pastries and sweets, as well as fried and fast food.
The experiment proved that the most MIND diet participants had no cognitive problems throughout their lives. In addition, following this diet improved memory in people regardless of age-related brain pathologies.
Russian doctors and scientists have repeatedly spoken about the importance of a healthy lifestyle in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. As the gerontologist, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Professor Vladimir Khavinson recently reported, it is possible to maintain brain health by observing fairly simple rules. “The first is biorhythm compliance. Not getting enough sleep is stressful. It is dangerous, even there were such tortures before. The second is optimal nutrition. What you eat is important, ”he stressed.
He called physical education the third important component of health. “Substances are formed in the muscles that help to protect the nerve cells. Studies have been conducted that have proven that people who engage in physical activity every day have a significantly lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who lead a passive lifestyle, ”concluded Khavinson.