REDUCING ALZHEIMER’S AND DEMENTIA RISK
Alzheimer’s Disease is one of the scariest diagnoses a person can receive. A slowly progressing disease, which robs you of memory and life, is a scary way to face our ultimate demise. Making things worse, is a never ending feeling of hopelessness.
Is there anything we can do to avoid Alzheimer’s Disease? Do the things we do in our midlife affect our brain later as it ages? Are there things we can do later on to help avoid this dreaded disease? Some of the latest research has a few suggestions.
1. Eat Anti-Oxidant rich foods
While the research is still in its nascent stages, it seems foods rich in anti-oxidants infuse your brain with the minerals it needs for better functionality. Stick with fruits and vegetables daily. Especially rich anti-oxidant foods are raspberries, raisins, and blueberries. The king of the berries is goji berry. These little suckers contain almost twice the amount of anti-oxidants compared to any other food! For non-berry lovers artichokes, kidney beans, and pecans are all great choices.
2. Do not consume bad fats
Fat has the potential to change the function of your brain. Good fats like healthy Omega 3’s have been shown to significantly improve brain function, while known bad fats like beef, high fat dairy, and dark chicken meat are all known to have a negative effect. Saturated fats found in examples listed above strangle brain cells causing them to become inefficient. Significantly reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by cutting down on saturated fats.
3. Make your brain bigger
Our brains stop growing somewhere in our 30’s, but scientists believe you can continue increasing brain size by acts of learning. Broaden your circle of friends for better mental stimulation and work daily on learning new things. Attempting to learn a foreign language can be especially helpful for brain development. It’s also an activity you can do within a circle of people, which further stimulates brain growth. Mandarin anyone?
4. Wine and chocolate
We put these together on purpose. What can possibly give you more pleasure? Well, there are certain other things, but as far as food is concerned, these two are the champs! Red wine contains resveratrol, a much talked about magic ingredient, which helps with practically everything. Wine is also an anti-inflammatory and is known to raise good cholesterol. All these combined, help ward off Alzheimer’s. Cocoa contained in dark chocolate is a great anti-oxidant since it contains flavanols. Flavanols contain brain and heart protecting properties. Drink a nice glass of red wine and have some dark chocolate for desert! Not only great pleasure for the body, but also very healthy for the mind.
5. Keep your weight at a healthy level
While being overweight is a known cause of many ailments, it may surprise you to learn that being underweight is just as dangerous when it comes to Alzheimer’s. Unexplained weight loss after age 60 may be a sign of Alzheimer’s. One recent study concluded that women started loosing weight ten years before the onset of the disease.
6. Adhere to a Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet has been proven to reduce memory deterioration and the onset of dementia. Numerous studies have conclusively shown that this Greek and Italian diet is truly brain healthy. Diet staples are leafy vegetables, fish, legumes, nuts, and olive oil. The before mentioned wine is also enjoyed, in moderation. Read up on the this diet to create a rich menu of brain healthy foods.
7. Get your sleep
A prolonged lack of sleep is very damaging to our brain cells. Most studies conclusively recommend getting between six and eight hours of sleep, with seven hours being optimal. Proper sleep helps protect your brain from Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline. By helping to regulate levels of peptide beta amyloid, sleep works as a help agent for brain regulation.
8. Be socially engaged
Its a mystery why having a close relationship with friends and family, and maintaining a strong social circle, is so beneficial for brain function, but there is no doubt that it is. People living in communities, which support personal connections are less prone to fall victim to Alzheimer’s Disease and a large swath of other illnesses. Make sure you are interacting daily with friends, relatives, and other loved ones.
9. Vitamin B12
When we age, blood levels of vitamin B12 go down as our ability to absorb it from food declines. Research studies from Oxford University concluded that low B12 in the blood actually shrinks our brains. A lack of B12 is also responsible for inflammation, which destroys brain cells. If you are experiencing unexplained weight loss or fatigue, it may be a good idea to check your levels of Vitamin B12. Take a daily Multi-Vitamin to help ward off Alzheimer’s.
10. Fight off stress
Stress is responsible for many maladies, Alzheimer’s included. Over time, prolonged exposure to stress kills brain cells, while suppressing the growth of new ones. Be aware that chronic stress can significantly increase your risk of cognitive decline and learn to control your stress to ward off Alzheimer’s Disease.