The Plan to Reduce Your Alzheimer’s Risk

Decreasing your sugar intake will improve your brain health.

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How Sugar Causes a Buildup of Plaque in the Brain (3:11)

A new study has revealed breakthrough research about the effects sugar has on the brain which could lead to Alzheimer's disease. The study found that, over a 10-year period, participants who had high blood sugar levels had a faster rate of cognitive decline. Brain health researcher Max Lugavere and NYU business professor and Alzheimer researcher Melissa Schilling have a plan to help you decrease the amount of sugar in your life to lower your blood sugar levels, lessen cognitive decline, and improve your overall health. 

Minimize High Glycemic Carbs to Three Servings Per Week 

High glycemic carbs are essentially sugar. They are foods that are high in carbohydrates like wheat, corn, and rice. They are also foods that are pure sugar like candy and baked goods. While it can be hard to eliminate sugar from your diet cold turkey, try limiting your high glycemic servings to only three a week for maximum health benefits. There are a ton of low glycemic carbs that you can eat, enjoy, and even swap out for high glycemic foods. Try eating peas instead of corn or sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes or barley instead of rice. 

More: Low-Glycemic Vegetable List

Replace Starchy Carbs With Carotenoids 

Carotenoids are molecules in plants that give them their bright orange or red colors. Examples of common fruits and veggies with carotenoids in them are carrots, mangoes, oranges, tomatoes, and grapefruits. Carotenoids are useful in the body because they can clear out dangerous molecules that could be harmful to your brain and other parts of your body. Replace the starches in your diet that are high in carbohydrates with carotenoids to increase the strength of your brain. Some creative food swaps include eating carrot fries instead of French fries and tomato chips instead of potato chips. 

More: The Anti-Alzheimer's Meal Plan

Swap Sugar With Fat For Fuel 

Typically when you are low on energy, you rely on sugar -- like chocolate, soda, etc. -- to give you a boost. However, this is harmful to your health because processed sugary foods are not good for you. Healthy fats can give your body the energy it needs without all the sugar. Additionally, good fats can help you fight against brain damage. A recent study found that a diet high in healthy fats improved cognition in Alzheimer's patients. While you shouldn't eat fat all the time, including it in a balanced diet with protein and fiber is beneficial for your health. Snack on something like a chocolate fat bomb to get all the benefits of healthy fats along with a sweet treat that doesn't include large amounts of sugar. 

More: The Brain-Boosting Foods to Add to Your Diet

Add Blueberries Into Your Diet 

New research has shown that blueberries may help prevent diabetes and decrease the chances of cognitive decline. Blueberry powder is a new item on the market so you can enjoy this delicious berry year-round instead of seasonally. Two tablespoons of powder are equal to one cup of blueberries. Add it to things like your salad dressings, smoothies, and dinner dishes to improve your memory and boost your health. 

More: Low-Sugar Fruit Shopping List