For many of us who have experienced Alzheimer’s firsthand, there is no greater fear than having the disease ourselves one day. But, recent studies suggest that some organic foods and products like coconut oil may be able to prevent dementias like Alzheimer’s.
Maintaining Brain Health to Prevent Dementia
We’re always reading the latest tips on prevention — eat right, reduce stress, get plenty of exercise and keep your brain engaged in challenging activities. As far as diet, coconut oil continues to receive a great deal of attention from advocates like Dr. Mary Newport.
In her 2011 book, “Alzheimer’s Disease: What If There Was a Cure? The Story of Ketones,” Dr. Newport fervently declares that her husband has shown clear improvement in his dementia with regular use of coconut oil. In some circles, the topic is rather controversial, but many of those with concerns about their cognitive future feel it’s worth a try.
How Coconut Oil Affects the Body and Mind
For best results, experts suggest organic, cold-pressed, non-hydrogenated, virgin coconut oil — and don’t let the word “oil” frighten you. Coconut oil is a heart-healthy oil that is free of cholesterol and trans-fats, and provides many benefits in addition to improving brain health, including:
- Improving the body’s use of insulin
- Improving cholesterol by increasing HDL (good cholesterol)
- Boosting thyroid function resulting in increased energy
- Acting as an antioxidant and natural antibiotic
- Improving overall health of skin and hair
A recent University of Oxford study suggested that although the effects of coconut oil may be temporary, Alzheimer’s and dementia patients have indeed seen short-term benefits resulting from its use. This research supports Dr. Newport’s theory that ketones, which are byproducts of the breakdown of fats in the body, play an important role in brain health. The idea is that by boosting ketones, found in coconut oil, we can improve cognitive function.
Adding Coconut Oil to Your Diet
If you decide to add this “super food” to your diet to promote brain health and prevent dementia, the internet is a great source for coconut oil recipes.
I personally love it stirred into my morning coffee or oatmeal, or even as a tasty addition to smoothies, but there are many ways to use coconut oil in cooking and baking.
Do keep in mind that coconut oil solidifies between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which came as a surprise to me. Here in the Midwest, except for the warmest summer days, it generally takes on a solid form.
Are you currently using coconut oil to prevent dementia? What are your favorite ways to incorporate it into your daily diet? Share your stories in the comments below.
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- Interview with Dr. Christopher Ochner of The Alzheimer’s Diet