I don’t 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, they’d convinced themselves they were destined for Alzheimer’s and dementia—because, according to them, that’s just what happens when people get to a certain age. Do you know people like this?
Yes, Alzheimer’s and dementia are quite common. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 5.3 million cases of Alzheimer’s in America. In 10 years, that number is estimated to reach 7.1 million. But Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s or an ironclad prevention method, there is a growing body of research indicating certain lifestyle choices can make a big difference in Alzheimer’s 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, I’d 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 Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s is likely your best bet to keep your brain sharp as you get older.
Alzheimer’s Prevention Method #1: Exercise
According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, regular exercise can slow the risk of Alzheimer’s 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.
Alzheimer’s 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 Alzheimer’s because inflammation and insulin resistance can create barriers when brain cells try to communicate with each other.
It’s possible you’ve heard Alzheimer’s being described as “diabetes of the brain.” Adopting a Mediterranean-style diet—or one aimed at removing toxins and protecting glial cells—is recommended. Look for foods like ginger, fatty fish, green tea, dark berries, vegetables, leafy greens, and omega-3 fatty acids to help.
Alzheimer’s doesn’t have to be your future. Try adopting these strategies to keep a clear, focused mind and memory as you age.
Related Reading : Can Coconut Oil Treat Alzheimer’s?
Sources for Today’s Article:
“2015 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” alz.org Alzheimer’s Association web site; http://www.alz.org/facts/, last accessed September 14, 2015.
“Pillar 3: Exercise and Brain Aerobics,” Alzheimer’s 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., “Healthy Heart, Health Brain: The association between cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease,” alz.org Alzheimer’s Association web site; http://www.alz.org/northcentraltexas/documents/healthy_heart__healthy_brain.pdf, last accessed September 14, 2015.
Smith, M., “Alzheimer’s and Dementia Prevention,” 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.