It’s no secret that dementia and Alzheimer’s is on the rise in people in their 70’s and older, but also younger people in their 60’s are starting to develop these dreadful diseases. We are being faced with a population of elderly people who are no longer the “wise ones.” In the traditional cultures that Dr. Weston Price studied, the elders lived a long healthy life and modern diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s were unheard of. What did they do to preserve their brain function?
One of the most outstanding things Dr. Price noticed in all of the traditional cultures he studied was that even though there was great deal of variation in their diets, they all had certain things in common. One of those things was sacred foods.
Each culture had their own version of one or two sacred foods and they went to great lengths to procure these foods. The foods were particularly given to pregnant and nursing mothers, young children, young couples getting ready to start a family and to the elders.
These nutrient dense foods ensured healthy pregnancies, healthy babies, strong bodies and strong minds. As I mentioned in a previous post about butter, in the Swiss village in the isolated Loetschental Valley, the sacred food was the rich butter made from the milk of cows feeding upon the quickly growing lush green grass in spring and fall. This sacred food was so revered for its nutrient power, it was celebrated in a special ceremony.
Another sacred food was fish roe or fish eggs. Today certain varieties are valued as caviar, a delicacy. The cultures that lived near the sea and had access to animal products from the sea went to great lengths to procure the fish roe. These eggs are power houses of nutrition. They contain plenty of vitamins A, C, E, folate and B12, as well as the important nutrient choline, which supports brain development and memory. They are loaded with phosphorus and potassium and have some calcium and selenium as well. Importantly they are high in cholesterol as well as omega 3 fatty acids. Cholesterol plays a very important role as an antioxidant which is still not recognized by the medical establishment.
These nutrients are critical for healthy neurons and healthy brain function.
When I was growing up in Brooklyn in the 1960’s I remember the fish monger coming around the neighborhood with his small truck filled with fresh fish from Sheepshead Bay. The catch of the day was laid out on shaved ice and he would clean and scale the fish right in front of us. Whenever he had fish roe my mother bought it and we ate it with the meal. I did not love fish but I remember loving the fish eggs and talking about the tiny fish inside. My mother was not the greatest cook but she did serve certain nutrient dense foods that she had learned about from her mother.
Sadly, the children of those with dementia and Alzheimer’s are forced to take care of their parents as if they were the children. We’ve lost the traditional wisdom of our ancestors and with that, we are losing the wise ones. The next generation does not have to suffer — feed your children these sacred foods and you will be fueling their brain power.
We need to go back and relearn that wisdom. But you do not have to reinvent the wheel. New technology gives us information at our fingertips. Visit the Weston Price Foundation website and visit with Real Food Media.com bloggers. There is a lot to learn and these are great places to start!