Is there a connection between Alzheimer and Menopause?

Has it ever happened to you? Walking to the fridge, but as soon as you open the door you’ve forgotten what you needed. Opening Google, but your eye catches a quick Facebook update and you completely forget the question you wanted answers to. You know a 100% sure you put your glasses on the table, but now you need it, you can’t find it anywhere. You desperately get your spare glasses, the ones that don’t fit well, because you sat on them. When you put them on, you notice your regular ones are on your head. Sounds familiar? Lucky me! This means I’m not the only one questioning my wits.

The source for hot flashes, depression and night sweats can be found in our brain. 

We may be thankful for the universal attention for breast cancer, ovary and cervical cancer.  But still, little of no research is done to the female brain and especially what happens to our brains during menopause. Hot flashes, night sweats and depression: all symptoms related to the menopause, are not so much caused by the ovaries. The cause can be found mainly in the brain.  With the estrogen level significantly getting lower, our brains age quicker. Not only does this fact contribute to many symptoms connected to menopause, but the lower level of estrogen also makes it easier for plaque to form. Estrogen is the one component that protects our brain from plaque. And plaque is the first sign for Alzheimer. So basically, when estrogen lets us down during menopause, our brains loose a very important protector. Is it a coincidence that twice as many women as men develop Alzheimer? And it can start as early as at 40. Docter Lisa Mosconi, is Ceo at the Institute for prevention of Alzheimer in New York and she has degrees and does research  in neuroscience, nuclear medicine, and nutrition. She is an expert on the influence of food on our brain.

Estrogen protects the female brain against getting older and plaque. 

She actually hopes that it will be normal practice in about 10 years, to test middle aged women on Alzheimer. Similar to the testing done for Cervical cancer and breast cancer. But since we are not there yet, she wrote a book that explains quite clearly how we, women, can reduce the effects of menopause and therefor the risc on Alzheimer, by simply adjusting our food. Her book  “Brain Food” tells us all.

 

 

In the past 3 minutes 3 people got diagnosed with Alzheimer. Two of them were women. 

Dr. Lisa Mosconi explains in“Brain Food” why it is so important to begin early with prevention. The medicins currently used against Alzheimer diminish the symptoms, but they can’t repair the damage already done. And because we can’t cure, prevention is so much more important. Alzheimer doesn’t evolve in a year. The changes in our brain leading up to the illness,  are already in place decades before the illness manifests itself.  A proper and well balanced diet can actually stimulate the brain, slow down Alzheimer and in the future she hopes, also prevent it. The health of our brains is therefor rather dependent of our food choices. Luckily the same food choices that help our brain are wholesome for our heart, helps against diabetes and several metabolic diseases.

FunFact: Worldwide 46 million people are suffering from some form of dementia. In the year 2050 this number will have risen to 132 million. 

But what can we eat? Paleo, Keto, Atkins, glutenfree, you name it. Every site has its own advices. How do you know what choices are wisest. Dr. Lisa has done years of research and I trust her advices. Not only do we have to take care of our brains, we menopausal women have another problem that has to be dealt with:  our estrogen is about to retire and needs some adjustments.

Chickpeas, garlic, apricots, soy all help the estrogen production. But vitamin C and vitamin E are just as important in menopause. Berries, citrus, almonds, raw cacao, avocados, sweet potatoes, nuts and lots and lots of vegetables. It’s not a punishment to add these to your diet, isn’t it! Not only will this help your estrogen levels, you will protect your brain against accelerated aging. Do you have to become a vegetarian? No, not necessarily, but it is important to eat more veggies (asparagus, cole, spinach, etc). Not only at diner time, but also at lunch time. I have recently started to breakfast with a salad. you’d be surprised how easily I adjusted to that. I feel fitter, am not so much haunted by hot flashes and I don’t get a 4 o’clock dip at work.

Lots more vegetables, fat fish and no more fried food. Chick peas, apricots and soy especially will stimulate the estrogen production. 

It can’t hurt to add fat fish to your diet. Smoked mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines, ansjovis are all good. Try to add it three times a week. The omega-3 will contribute to a healthy mind, but B-12 is also much needed for your nerve system. You don’t like fish that much? Or you are a vegetarian? You can always replace fish with almonds, walnuts or chia seeds. It seems logical, but fried food is a big no-no. We all know fried potatoes are not good. No matter how organic. But there are healthier options. Sweet potatoes from the oven, drenched in olive oil or cocos oil and fresh herbs are delicious. The book of Dr. Lisa is stuffed with tips on how to protect our brain against unnecessary aging and how to make our menopausal years a bit easier. If even a little bit.

I still walk into a room, asking myself what the heck it was that made me walk into the room in the first place. 

‘m three weeks in and adjust my pattern slowly. I probably will find more helpful tips before I’m through, but up to now I’m feeling better, fitter and I lost 3 kilos in the proces. I’m not hungry, no more bloating, my hot flashes are gone. Only advantages then? Well no. I still am unbelievably forgetful. I’m still able to walk into a room and ask myself why I walked in that room in the first place. But I contribute that to menopause.

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