I donât know about you, but people who resign themselves to a certain destiny often frustrate me. For example, the other week I was talking to a few friends who were convinced they were losing their mental sharpness. But instead of taking action against it, theyâd convinced themselves they were destined for Alzheimerâs and dementiaâbecause, according to them, thatâs just what happens when people get to a certain age. Do you know people like this?
Yes, Alzheimerâs and dementia are quite common. According to the Alzheimerâs Association, there are 5.3 million cases of Alzheimerâs in America. In 10 years, that number is estimated to reach 7.1 million. But Alzheimerâs is not a normal part of aging, and there is some evidence to suggest its onset can be slowed or prevented.
Although there is no documented cure for Alzheimerâs or an ironclad prevention method, there is a growing body of research indicating certain lifestyle choices can make a big difference in Alzheimerâs prevention. They revolve around six main pillars: regular exercise, a healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, stress management, and maintaining an active social life. Today, Iâd like to look at two of those pillars: diet and exercise.
Diet and Exercise: Two Ways to Maintain Cognitive Sharpness
Aside from maintaining an active social life, you might notice the prevention methods are very similar to those recommended in the fight against cardiovascular disease (CVD). Although Alzheimerâs and CVD might seem quite different, the reality is that the two conditions are very closely linked. Taking an integrated approach to prevent CVD and Alzheimerâs is likely your best bet to keep your brain sharp as you get older.
Alzheimerâs Prevention Method #1: Exercise
According to the Alzheimerâs Research and Prevention Foundation, regular exercise can slow the risk of Alzheimerâs by up to 50%. There are also studies that suggest exercise stimulates the brain. It creates an environment that helps form new memories and connections while helping restore old ones. Trying to get 150 minutes per week of cardiovascular exercise and strength training is the most beneficial.
Alzheimerâs Prevention Method #2: Diet
Along with exercise, a healthy diet can limit inflammation and fight insulin resistance. This is quite important in the fight against Alzheimerâs because inflammation and insulin resistance can create barriers when brain cells try to communicate with each other.
Itâs possible youâve heard Alzheimerâs being described as âdiabetes of the brain.â Adopting a Mediterranean-style dietâor one aimed at removing toxins and protecting glial cellsâis recommended. Look for foods like ginger, fatty fish, green tea, dark berries, vegetables, leafy greens, and omega-3 fatty acids to help.
Alzheimerâs doesnât have to be your future. Try adopting these strategies to keep a clear, focused mind and memory as you age.
Related Reading : Â Can Coconut Oil Treat Alzheimerâs?
Sources for Todayâs Article:
â2015 Alzheimerâs Disease Facts and Figures,â alz.org Alzheimerâs Association web site; http://www.alz.org/facts/, last accessed September 14, 2015.
âPillar 3: Exercise and Brain Aerobics,â Alzheimerâs Research and Prevention Foundation web site; http://www.alzheimersprevention.org/4-pillars-of-prevention/exercise-and-brain-aerobics, last accessed September 14, 2015.
Singh, M., âHealthy Heart, Health Brain: The association between cardiovascular disease and Alzheimerâs disease,â alz.org Alzheimerâs Association web site; http://www.alz.org/northcentraltexas/documents/healthy_heart__healthy_brain.pdf, last accessed September 14, 2015.
Smith, M., âAlzheimerâs and Dementia Prevention,â HelpGuide.org web site, last updated August 2015; http://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia/alzheimers-and-dementia-prevention.htm, last accessed September 14, 2015.