Juicing for Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by a buildup of protein in the brain. Although scientists have not been able to measure it in living victims, autopsies have shown the buildup leads to the atrophy of tissue in the frontal and temporal parts of the brain and results in loss of mental capacity.
According to the Alzheimer's Association, scientists are still studying how plaque in the brain (which is composed of protein), and “tangles,” or twisted fibers of protein that form within dying brain cells in the brain, are related to Alzheimer's disease.
Some experts believe the disease can be prevented by reducing free radical damage in the brain caused by exposure to toxins. Aluminum is one suspected cause of this damage; much-higher-than-normal deposits of aluminum have been found in the brains of those with Alzheimer's.
Studies show that more than half of people older than age 85 suffer from some sort of dementia, the majority of which is caused by Alzheimer's disease. Symptoms range from hallucinations and delusions to aggression, wandering, depression, incontinence, eating disorders, and overt sexuality.
How Juicing Can Help
Although juicing certainly can't cure Alzheimer's, recent studies show that consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables, both of which are high in antioxidants, may help prevent cell damage by fighting free radicals in the brain. Fruits contain protective antioxidants called polyphenols that protect the cells from oxidative stress.
Because antioxidants gobble up free radicals that damage brain tissue, consuming fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and selenium are a good place to start if you have Alzheimer's in the family. Omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin B12 may also help ward off the disease.
According to research presented in the Journal of Food Science, neuronal cells treated with extracts from everyday fruits, including apples, bananas, and oranges, protected the cells from oxidative stress. The cells treated with apple extract were most protected, but bananas and oranges showed excellent results. Grapes, cherries, and plums were found to have high antioxidant activity similar to apples.
In another study, blueberries were shown to contain flavanols and anthocyanins, antioxidants that seem to improve memory. Researchers believe these substances help improve memory by strengthening existing neuronal connections, which in turn helps stimulate the regeneration of cells.
Beware of Aluminum
Supplements do not offer the same protective effects against Alzheimer's as fresh juice, which provides the maximum benefits of antioxidants. With the exception of vitamin B12, which is difficult to find in abundance in fruits and vegetables, you can get all the preventive nutrients you need to ward off Alzheimer's by juicing a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Studies conducted in Norway indicate that people exposed to high levels of aluminum have an increased incidence of Alzheimer's disease and dementia.
The best way to prevent Alzheimer's may be to consume a varied selection of fresh produce in juice that offers high antioxidant activity similar to what was found in apples, grapes, cherries, and plums.
Recent studies showed that elderly people who drink fruit or vegetable juice three times per week reduce their risk of Alzheimer's compared to people who drink juice less than once per week.