Khaas Baat : A Publication for Indian Americans in Florida


Disturbing Type 3 Diabetes – part i!



We humans have progressed leaps and bounds in all possible fields of art and science, particularly health sciences. But like a video game, as soon as you combat the old enemies (diseases) and put them to rest, new ones crop up left and right catching us off guard. These diseases have their tentacles tightly wrapped around our lives draining the very essence of our life, rendering us helpless to lead a quality life.

What is Type 3 diabetes? It is the diabetes of brain. Type 3 diabetes progresses to Alzheimer's disease (AD) or other forms of dementia with dramatic cognitive decline. People with AD condition gradually lose memory and mental focus. Some people become severely disabled and die from it. Others may experience only a mild slowing of brain function.

Gary Small, a professor at University of California-Los Angeles, suggested that high blood sugars cause inflammation throughout the body and brain. Chronic inflammation has been linked with two brain changes typical of AD. Clumps of protein called beta-amlyoid plaques may block communication. Tau tangles are twisted-up proteins in nerve cells, interfering with cell function. Older adults with Type 3 diabetes suffer from greater declines in working memory and executive functioning (a set of mental processes that involve planning, organization, controlling attention, and flexible thinking) than their peers do.

Studies done at Brown University and the University of Pennsylvania indicate that insulin resistance, the hallmark of Type 2 diabetes, may deprive brain cells of glucose they need to function, causing damage. Insulin enters the brain through the blood brain barrier where it performs many unique functions. Neuroprotection, degradation of B- AMyloid peptide, food intake, glucose regulation-brain insulin has opposite effect of peripheral insulin. Half of the person’s risk of developing AD is attributed to diet and physical activity.

Poor diet, what not to do:

Saturated fatty acids, high dietary ratio of omega-6/omega 3, sugars have been associated with increased risk of cognitive impairment.

Good diet, what to do: Quality whole foods diet, diet impacts brain structure, function and plasticity.

Plant-based diet: Plants, the nature’s chemical factories, provide us rich bioactive compounds or phytochemicals. Polyphenols have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties – enhance neuronal function and stimulate cerebral blood flow and neurogenesis. Flavonoids, the largest family of polyphenols (onion, kale, leeks, broccoli, apples, blueberries, coffee, tea, cocoa, chocolate), are neuroprotective. Resveratrol (peanuts, grape skin, wine) and curcumin (turmeric) appear to be neuroprotective.

Chocolate: Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, penetrate and accumulate in the regions of brain that are involved in learning and memory. In a study of 968 human participants, habitual chocolate intake was related to improved performance on working memory, global composite score, visual spatial memory and organization. In another study, chocolate was associated with reduced cognitive decline.

Coffee: In CAIDE (cardiovascular risk factors, aging and dementia study), drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day at midlife was associated with a -65 percent decreased risk of dementia/AD in later life. Coffee contains potent antioxidants like chlorogenic acid and quercetin. Chlorogenic acid may decrease the release of glucose into the bloodstream after meal. Light roast is more beneficial than dark roast.

Spices: Contain nutraceuticals that combine plethora of beneficial properties. Turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, clove, ginger, cinnamon, licorice, target inflammatory pathways, thereby potentially preventing neurodegenerative diseases.

Fiber: High-fiber diets have numerous reported health benefits in reducing the risk of Type 3 diabetes, colon cancer, etc. Many of the stated effects have been associated with the microbiome and its ability to produce short chain fatty acids, such as butyrate. Interestingly butyrate (from fermentation of prebiotic fibers in the gut) could benefit central nervous system function directly.

Recipe of the Month

Neuroprotective Tawa Fry

Serves 4-6

Cut the veggies in big chunks. Put all veggies except for tomato in big greased pan in single layer at 400 degrees Fahrenheit in oven for about 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in big pan, add cumin, fennel seeds, chili ginger garlic and sauté for few minutes then add tawa fry masala, garam masala, turmeric powder, and all oven-baked veggies and one big tomato coarsely chopped, add ½ cup ketchup, ½ cup cilantro mix and turn off the gas, serve hot with rice or roti.

To our health!

To be continued …

Bhavi Nirav is a Registered Dietitian/M.S., R.D., L.D., certified yoga practitioner, and can be reached at [email protected].

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