Healthy eating slows cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s study shows

One St. Louis couple put this to the test and saw near immediate results.
Published: Aug. 7, 2022 at 10:20 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - It’s a disease with no cure, no medication, and one that can be extremely debilitating. Alzheimer’s affects each brain differently, but one new study shows there’s a natural, more simple way of treating and slowing this disease. Research shows it starts in your kitchen.

“We eat real light at night,” Andy Rachelski showed News 4 in their kitchen Sunday.

Andy Rachelski and his wife, Mary Rachelski , were planning to munch on some winter squash soup for dinner. It’s a food neither of them thought they’d ever be privy to.

“In the morning I’m not coherent yet, until I have food in me, and things start making sense. I can come out here and look at this wall of pictures and think ‘who are these people?,’” Mary Rachelski said.

In 2016, Mary Rachelski was diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, which has developed into Alzheimer’s.

“Scary. Generally speaking, [it’s] scary,” Mary Rachelski explained.

Doctor after doctor dismissed the Rachelskis and told them there was nothing that could treat memory loss. However, Andy Rachelski didn’t give up. He said he did his own research and found a functional medicine doctor who recommended a different type of change, a nutritional one.

“Getting away from anything that generated a lot of sugar, which processed food does a lot of that. We got away from the way we were eating completely,” Andy Rachelski explained.

Their fridge is now packed top to bottom, shelf to shelf, with all naturals, fruits, veggies, plant-based goods and organic meats. After years of nutritionally focused living, the Rachelskis said Mary’s cognitive decline slowed, and a recent Alzheimer’s Association study agrees.

Sarah Lovegreen with the Missouri Alzheimer’s Association said more than 10,000 people were studied, focusing on processed foods.

“For those folks who had a high amount of ultra-processed foods in their diet, that they had an accelerated rate of cognitive decline,” Lovegreen said.

Lovegreen said it’s the food we all love, pizza, white bread, waffles and sugary drinks. Again, food we love, but some that raise red flags. Lovegreen said her concern lies with the underserved communities and getting them access to healthy foods.

“Really looking at some of our diverse and underserved communities who may not have the same access to healthy foods, quality education, quality housing, this just creates another hill they have to climb,” Lovegreen added.

While the Rachelskis know their way of living isn’t sustainable for everyone, they said it’s worth even the smallest diet change, that could have an even bigger impact on your way of life.

“We’re not dying with Alzheimer’s, we’re living with Alzheimer’s. We are really wanting to be, maybe represent a group of people, that will give hope to those people out there who go ‘oh I’m dead’. That’s not the case,” Andy Rachelski said.

The Missouri Alzheimer’s Association offers local programs that focus on nutritional health and living. They also are partnering with local nonprofits to ensure resources are adequately available to everyone. To learn more, click here.