Studies state that it’s not just how many calories but the source of calories that are important for protection against dementia.
Doctors from the west are promoting a”Mediterranean-style” diet, which focuses on fish, vegetables, legumes, olive oil and whole grains. It’s associated with a decreased risk of developing cognitive impairment later in life as well as slowing down the progression of cognitive impairment once symptoms are already present.
This diet seems to be close to some of the traditional African one, before the fast-food revolution hit us. Eating cassava or sorghum ugali, spinach, sukuma, osuga, mrenda, fish, beans, githeri,peanuts with maize as nyoyo. What we have lacked is food variety, we seem to eat the same foods every day and as a result we tend to have nutrition deficiencies.
For example, there are some communities that traditionally did not eat fish since it wasn’t accessible to them, yet fish is a great source of Omega-3 for the brain.DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid, and one of the main components of fish oil has been shown to help develop the brain and is sometimes used to supplement infant formula. It is true that generic fish oil has not been found to be helpful in treating people who already have Alzheimer’s disease, but the population studies indicate that it might be helpful in that regard.
Although it is not proven that fewer and healthier calories will reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, the evidence is reasonably strong. And the evidence that the same formula will protect you against other diseases (like diabetes and heart disease) is even stronger.
If we put all the foods that Africans eat in a big basket (forget about the tribes) and vary our diet based on this wide selection, our bodies would be well nourished. Provided we start cooking the food with the intention to retain the nutrients.
The way we cook also matters. Deep frying food every day is risky for your health. You end up consuming a lot of saturated and trans fats. Consider baking, steaming, broiling and finding new ways to marinate and cook your food.