Beef: Could It Play a Part in Preventing Alzheimer’s?

In Memory of My Grandpa Peterson

There are very few things in life that I love more than my family and good cattle. My parents could see, from a young age, that I would grow up to be a young woman rooted in agriculture. By the age of five you could often find me in a pair of Levi jean shorts, a Mickey Mouse t-shirt, and my dad’s old Stine Seed hat stirring up dust on our generational family farm in southern Iowa.

Although you are unable to see it in this picture,
my mom often found me “farming” in a pair of old tap shoes.

My love for the beef industry was something that I proudly shared with my father and late

grandfather. Sundays often consisted of a visit from Grandma and Grandpa to enjoy a home-cooked meal and an update on the latest farm activities. When October 4th came around, I grew another year older, but something that I failed to notice was so did Grandpa.

For several years my family watched as Grandpa’s mind slowly slipped away and the memories that we shared became fuzzier, as the dementia began taking over his life. It made problem solving and the completion of familiar, everyday tasks a struggle. This led to confusion, frustration, anger, and depression. With heavy hearts, my family laid my Grandpa to rest on October 28, 2016.

My Grandpa and Dad with our show string, 
at the Iowa State Fair, 
a few months before he passed away.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, this disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, with more than 5 million people currently living with it. Alzheimer’s attacks the brain and shows severe decline in mental ability, interfering with the victim’s everyday life. Though deaths from this disease have increased by 89% since the year 2000, it is not a normal part of aging.

So can Alzheimer’s be prevented? That question is one that researchers work diligently to answer daily. As a quest to find new treatments is under way around the world, one study shows that beef could play a positive role in Alzheimer’s prevention. In this article written by Amanda Radke, she states that beef provides the perfect saturated fats and nutrient-dense protein per serving to fight and prevent Alzheimer’s.

Though my Grandpa is now watching over me from above, I hang on to the wonderful moments and memories my family shares and thank him for helping me discover my passion for the beef industry. Watching a loved one suffer from this disease is heart wrenching, and I have high hopes that someday we can find a cure. Until then, you can help make a difference by participating in research, becoming an advocate, or making a donation!

By: Kylie Peterson

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