Dementia affects millions of people all over the world, so it is a condition that needs to be taken seriously, and many people aim to take steps to reduce their risk of developing this condition as they get older. If you know someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, you know how devastating this disease can be.
The good news is that experts are working on figuring out ways that you can reduce your risk of developing dementia, and they have found that meat consumption is linked to it. In fact, according to the American College of Nutrition, the Western diet is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease as well. Therefore, the simple act of reducing or eliminating your intake of meat can be beneficial.
Some Background on Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
At the moment, an estimated five million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. That condition is the most common form of dementia. By the year 2050, it is expected that the number of cases will have tripled in the United States. One of the early signs of the condition is memory loss. As the disease progresses, other symptoms can include confusion and disorientation, changes in behavior, difficulty speaking, and unfounded suspicions, among others.
Alzheimer’s is a fatal form of dementia, currently holding the position as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Its mortality rates are steadily on the rise, despite the fact that those associated with the other leading causes of death – such as heart disease and cancer – are decreasing.
Dementia and Meat Consumption: Experts Recommend Cutting Meat from Diet
According to the recommendations of a leading British psychotherapist, Peter Field, if you are hoping to take meaningful action against long term mental health problems such as dementia, then reducing or eliminating your meat and animal protein intake could be the way to go. Field claims that there is a direct connection between eating animal protein and experiencing cognitive dysfunction, which can lead to senile dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Field is a regular contributor to the BBC and is a Royal Society of Health Fellow. He claims that there is a clear link between eating meat, and experiencing issues such as cognitive impairment and dementia, as well as other forms of medical condition and disease, such as diabetes and certain forms of cancer. He stated that “The research is very convincing.”
In his work, and while making his recommendations, Field quotes professor T. Collin Campbell of Cornell University, and the author of the China Study, as well as an internationally acknowledged disease and diet authority. From Campbell’s research and recommendations, Field has said that cognitive dysfunction has a tendency to occur at a higher rate among individuals who regularly consume animal proteins as a part of their foods. In fact, he claims that when compared to people who do not eat an animal based diet, those who do eat meats and other animal proteins have a risk of Alzheimer’s disease that is six times greater.
Switch to a Whole Food, Plant-Based Diet to Support Your Mental Health
Field and Campbell agree that in order to avoid cognitive problems such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, the best thing that a person can do is to adopt a diet based on whole, plant based foods that has been carefully balanced to ensure that it is fully nutritious for maintaining good health on both a physical and mental level.
In addition to eating natural, wholesome foods that don’t come from animals, you can also take steps to reduce your dementia risk by doing the following:
- Exercising and leading an active lifestyle
- Challenging your mind with puzzles, quizzes, etc., and by learning new things
- Consuming only small amounts of alcohol
- Quitting smoking
Need Help Transitioning to a Diet That Reduces or Eliminates Meat?
The connection between meat consumption and dementia is just one piece of a larger puzzle pointing to the benefits of eating plants and avoiding animal products. In fact, more and more evidence is continually being released by experts who are studying the effects of switching to a plant-based diet that doesn’t contain animal products like meat, dairy, and eggs.
If you want to start reaping those benefits, there is no better time than right now to start. And, remember, you don’t have to switch to a vegan diet overnight either. Instead, you can transition slowly over weeks or months. The key is to start adding more plants into your daily diet, while reducing your intake of animal products and processed foods. With so many delicious recipes and ingredients to try, and so many helpful websites for support and tips, you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is, as well as how fun and flavorful this type of diet can be. Plus, because it can help you feel better in body and mind, you likely won’t want to go back to your old habits.