Alzheimer’s disease is devastating. If you know anyone who has been impacted by this illness, you know exactly how hard it can be for the patient and his or her loved ones. Therefore, knowing some of the top tips for Alzheimer’s disease prevention, including what you can eat to help support the health of your brain as you get older, is a step in the right direction.
Continue reading to learn more about this disease, along with some Alzheimer’s disease prevention strategies that anyone can implement into their daily life.
Alzheimer’s Disease: A Bit of Background
Here are a few quick facts about Alzheimer’s disease so that you can begin to develop a better understanding of what can cause it, as well as what it does to patients:
- Alzheimer’s disease is the progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain.
- This is the most common cause of premature senility.
- Every 70 seconds, another person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. By the time you are done reading this article, another person will be diagnosed.
- Scientists are finding many links between our diets and Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease prevention starts with your diet, but can also be prevented with exercise.
- Another key to prevention is exercising your brain as well, “If you don’t use it, you lose it”.
The Importance of Exercise for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
One of the most important steps you can take for Alzheimer’s disease prevention is: get more exercise! We know, it can be tough to squeeze in a good workout several times a week, especially when you are really busy taking care of your family, yourself, and your job. But, it will be totally worth it because exercise can help energize you, it can elevate your mood, and it can help reduce your risk of myriad health problems.
According to MarketWatch, researchers have discovered that women who make fitness a significant part of their lifestyle are nearly 90% less likely to develop dementia. Wow!
How can exercise have such a big impact on Alzheimer’s disease prevention? Well, it appears that the physical activity is capable of helping to reduce chronic inflammation. Plus, it can help release a protein that is beneficial to brain cells.
On top of that, other health problems, like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular problems, might not be good for your brain either. However, exercising to reduce the risk of those other ailments, or exercising to get your health back on track if you have been diagnosed with other medical conditions, might help support the overall health of your brain as well.
A Diet for Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
While physical exercise and brain exercise are important for Alzheimer’s disease prevention, diet is key.
Foods rich in vitamin E and N-3 fatty acid such as fish and olive oil are linked to healthy grey matter in the brain.
Foods full of fat like dairy and meat have been linked to quicker brain deterioration.
Foods to stay away from:
- Fatty steak
- Vegetable shortening
Alzheimer’s disease prevention foods:
- Oil based salad dressings
- Olive oil
- Green, leafy vegetables
- Seeds and nuts
- Fish (at least once per week)
- Vitamin E
- Fortified cereals
- Curry (2x per week)
- Common yellow mustard (contains turmeric)
- Mediterranean diet
Other Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Tips
In addition to a healthy diet, exercise is important to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Not only physical exercise, but also mental exercise.
- To exercise the mind, pull out a jigsaw puzzle, crossword puzzle, word search, or even a sudoku puzzle. It is recommended to do at least one daily. To get mentally fit with a buddy, try scrabble, mad gab, or a memory matching game.
- In addition to sharpening the mind, it is important to have a healthy exercise regime. Cardio 3-4 times per week, walking, jogging, running, swimming, etc for 25 minutes to an hour.
- Stretching daily has many health benefits Alzheimer’s disease prevention being one of them. You can either stretch 10-15 minutes as you see fit, or maybe take part in yoga, Pilates, or tai chi. Stretching daily will also improve mental focus, spark new ideas, refresh the mind, and improve the memory. No matter where you are in your fitness journey, you can always benefit from a good stretch.
- The morning time is the best time to stretch and get your workout in, preparing you for the day ahead. However, if you begin to feel groggy in the day or maybe your schedule just won’t allow you that time in the morning, the evening time 4-6 before bed is also a fitting time for these physical endeavors. Just make sure you aren’t doing these things too close to bedtime or you may have trouble falling asleep.
- Finally, a good nights rest plays a role in your mental health. People who slept at least 7 hours a night or more functioned better, were happier, and in the long run have better health check ups with their physician. To get a good night’s rest, try eating fewer carbs at dinner, having dinner at least 4 hours before bed, and eating these Alzheimer’s prevention foods for your last meal of the day:
- Spinach or other leafy greens
- Olive oil
- Oil based salad dressing
- Seeds and nuts
When It Comes to Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention, It’s About a Combination of Efforts
Remember, in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, diet, exercise, and mental stimulation are all key. No one strategy is more important than another. You may not be able to change your genetic makeup, but you can control what you put into your body.
If you are worried that you might be prone to developing Alzheimer’s disease, perhaps because other people in your family have been diagnosed with it, be sure to talk to your doctor about your potential risk factors. This can help you gain greater insight into just how high your risk is, and it can help you discover the best ways to reduce that risk.
Beyond getting personalized advice from your physician, though, leading a healthy lifestyle that includes eating right, exercising, reducing stress, taking care of your body and mind, and getting plenty of rest can help you stay as strong and healthy as possible for the longest amount of time possible. And, the same strategies that can help you maintain overall health on a day-to-day basis are tactics you can use for Alzheimer’s disease prevention, too, so it’s a win-win.