A new study conducted by researchers at the University of South Florida Health found that a naturally occurring compound, fenchol, could help protect against Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It can be devastating to the person experiencing the disease, as well as to family, friends, and caretakers of that person.
According to the CDC, an estimated 5.8 million people had Alzheimer’s disease in 2020, and that number is expected to grow to 14 million by 2060. It’s the 6th leading cause of death among US adults.
Unlike cancer and heart disease, deaths associated with Alzheimer’s disease are on the rise. Researchers have been working tirelessly to determine preventative measures against the disease, as well as more effective treatment plans.
As it turns out, there may be something we can eat on a regular basis to help fight Alzheimer’s disease, and that food is basil.
Science Daily reports that the study published in Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience found that the chemical compound fenchol, found in high amounts in basil, may help reduce neurotoxicity in the Alzheimer’s brain.
Of 15 different compounds studied, the researchers found the fenchol to be the most effective at lowering rates of neuron deaths and reducing the severity of the disease.
Daily Science reported that Hariom Yadav, PhD, professor of neurosurgery and brain repair at the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, said: “[Fenchol] reduces the formation of half-dead zombie neuronal cells and also increases the degradation of (nonfunctioning) Aβ, so that amyloid protein is cleared from the brain much faster.”
Fenchol is found in many foods and herbs, including basil, fennel, lime, nutmeg, and cannabis.
While there’s no definitive cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s just yet, research like this is bringing us one step closer to lowering rates of the disease, reducing symptoms, and minimizing deaths.
If you’d like to learn more about Alzheimer’s prevention, you can check out the Alzheimer’s Association’s “10 Ways To Love Your Brain,” which offers lifestyle tips to slow cognitive decline.