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About sardines and Alzheimer's

IMG_2304_2.jpgI absolutely love sardines. I grew up eating Spanish canned sardines packed in olive oil or tomato sauce. I used to eat them on a Ritz cracker. Nowadays I eat them in salads or with pasta or couscous. If I have the time and the inclination I make Sarde in Saor, a Venetian dish of sardines marinated with onions, pine nuts, raisins and vinegar.

Sardines and other oily fish like salmon, mackerel, black cod and herring are considered “brain food” because they are rich in Omega-3. This fatty acid is the primary building block of the brain and helps maintain a healthy heart. A 2006 study in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that eating Omega-3 fatty acids once a week reduced the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease by 60 percent.

In my maternal side of the family there’s a family history of Alzheimer’s disease. My mother is entering the last stage of the disease with severe cognitive decline. Her youngest brother, Mike, in whose memory I placed the Alzheimer widget on the right, died last year, 12 years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. My mother's sister is showing early signs of the disease.

I intend to do everything in my power to prevent this disease from afflicting my family. Although there is no proven way to prevent it, there are some practices that can be incorporated into the daily life such as eating a brain-healthy diet and exercising regularly.


September 21 is World Alzheimer's Day

World Alzheimer's Day, September 21, is a day when Alzheimer's associations around the world concentrate their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer's disease and other dementias. Currently there are more than 26 million people across the world living with Alzheimer’s and that number will quadruple by 2050.

World Alzheimer's Day was first launched on September 21, 1994, at the Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) conference as part of the 10th anniversary celebration.

World Alzheimer's Day provides an opportunity for the Alzheimer's Association and other organizations around the globe to unify effort to raise awareness about the disease and its impact on families and to rally people to get involved.


Please join me in creating awareness about this disease that robs people of their memory, reason, and eventually the ability to care for themselves.

Comments (6)

Kathy (Trekcapri):

Hi Maria, I'm so sorry to learn about the loss of your uncle and about your mother's condition (and her sister's condition) with Alzheimer’s disease.

Thank you for sharing and for writing this very thoughtful and informative post. I will wholeheartedly join you in your efforts in increasing awareness about this disease, starting with spreading the word about the September 21 World Alzheimer's Day. I'll keep your mother and her sister in my thoughts and prayers.

Thanks for this great info. I'm sorry to learn that this disease has impacted your family so much.

I've had sardines once in my life - Sarde in Saor in Venice. I liked it even though I'm not a huge fish fan (I love shrimp, oysters and crab more than fish). I think I could handle eating it once a week though.

I put this on Anne's blog too. I'm not sure what your exact dates are, but I just found out that the "Little Market of the Miracles" is taking place in Venice on Oct. 11 and 12. It's an antique/junk market in the campo right next to the Miracoli church; I went to it a couple of years ago and it was a lot of fun!

Kathy, thank you so much for your heartfelt comment. I've been trying to educate myself in this disease since it's something that concerns my family and also my extended family. I wanted to do the Memory Walk this year (it's only 3 miles) but I'll be in Spain. I'm planning on joining a team next year and help out in many other ways I can.

Annie, other than oily fish there are other sources of Omega-3. According to a page in the Whole Food’s website (http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=nutrient&dbid=84), the best sources are salmon (but not too much due to mercury), walnuts and flax seeds. Good sources also, although in a lesser extent, are scallops, cauliflower, soybeans, tofu and leafy green vegetables.

I’ve never eaten Sarde in Saor in Venice, and even though I've been told it is a summer dish, I’m hoping to find it next month on the menu somewhere.

Thank you for the lead on the antique market! I arrive on Oct. 12 at 9:00am so I’ll be able to go to the market. It’s just the perfect thing to do after traveling for 17 hours and it is not too far from my apartment. The owner of the apartment emailed me that the flat is available on Oct. 11 so I’m going to check if the flight looks promising for stand-by travel on the 10th and try to arrive a day early. Wish me luck!

What a great blog and a beutiful heartfelt and important post. My prayers are with you. I love sardines, truly love them which makes others turn their nose up when I eat them for some reason. Least I know it maybe doing me some good. Thanks for the information.

María, I also want to say how sorry I am to hear that so many in your family, including your mother have been afflicted with this terrible disease. My grandfather had Alzheimer's and it was so sad to watch. Great post and great information!

Lilly, thank you for your kind words and for stopping by. I'm happy to hear from another sardine lover!

Girasoli, I'm so sorry to hear that your grandfather had to battle this horrible disease. I hope the day will come when we can prevent another generation from being robbed of their mental and physical capabilities.

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