Neurodegenerative disorders result in the deterioration of structural components and brain functions that leads to cognitive disability. Alternatively referred to as nerve-degenerative diseases, the condition results in the loss of neurons affecting your brain and spinal cord. Inflammation and oxidative stress are the two main factors that lead to the development of nerve-degenerative diseases. Inflammation and oxidation also lead to tissue damage that gradually impairs the brain functions.
This is a progressive disorder and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases increase with age. Note that neurons cannot be reproduced and replaced which is why the symptoms of these disorders should never be overlooked.
Here is a common list of nerve-degenerative diseases-
- Spinal muscular atrophy
- Parkinson’s disease
- Lewy body disease
- Huntington’s disease
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Friedreich’s ataxia
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Motor neuron diseases
Alzheimer’s is the most common nerve-degenerative disease that represents 60-70% of the reported cases. Here is a list of healthy foods that can boost cognitive function and help fight harmful free radicals-
Strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries are rich in antioxidant properties. The rich concentration of antioxidants help boost brain functions and improve overall cognitive ability. Note that the human body does not produce antioxidants. This makes berries an excellent source of brain healthy foods to reduce the risk of developing nerve-degenerative diseases.
Salmon is another healthy source rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Salmon is rich in DHA nutrients, vital for cognitive functions.
- Olive oil
Extra virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols. These highly potent antioxidants lower the risk of Alzheimer’s when incorporated into a healthy diet routine.
- Kale and spinach
Green and leafy vegetables are rich in vitamin B supplements, folate, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. Spinach is rich in vitamin C and chlorophyll. Sulforaphane is one of the brain-boosting nutrients found in kale. A nice salad bowl with lots of spinach and kale will boost overall cognitive ability.
This root vegetable is rich in nitrates that increase blood flow to your brain. Your overall cognitive function is improved when oxygen-rich blood flows through the brain.
You can also prevent and manage neurodegenerative diseases by incorporating the following foods and beverages in your diet routine-
- Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) rich foods
The brain is made up of 60% fat and DHA is an important structural component that forms about 8% of the brain fat. DHA helps in cellular turnover, a process that helps synthesize omega-3 fatty acids. Include fatty fish and eggs in your diet to supply the brain with DHA nutrients.
- Dark chocolate
Chocolate can be incorporated in many recipes to boost brain endothelial, platelet functions, and help reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidant properties to help boost overall cognitive function.
- Limited alcohol use
Alcohol has high concentrations of polyphenolic antioxidant components. Controlled consumption of certain types of alcohol has potential benefits to reduce the risk of a nerve degenerative disease like Alzheimer’s. Note that regular alcohol intake can also lead to alcohol abuse and may not be necessarily beneficial in the long term.
- A wholesome diet
A wholesome diet will also help you manage disorders like depression, anxiety, and reduce the risk of nerve-degenerative diseases. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meat, and fish food sources will form part of a wholesome diet.