SEVEN Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
In the US in 2017, 5.5 million people were estimated to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease. That’s up from 3.4 million in 2007. Furthermore, by the year 2050, there may be 16 million Americans living with this disease. In addition, it’s the one disease in the 10 leading causes of deaths in America that we can’t cure.
Most of these (5.3 million) are over 65 and another 200,000 with younger-onset Alzheimer’s are under 65 years old. But, what if the symptoms of dementia and Alzheimer’s could be prevented? Could something as simple as regular exercise make that much difference? The scientific community believes so.
Prevention is the Only Plausible Cure
At this point in time, there is no cure for dementia. As a result, it seems that prevention is the only viable option. According to nutritionist, Cassandra Burns,
“There’s no cure for dementia. But, some treatments and lifestyle swaps could help to reduce symptoms. Exercise could help to prevent dementia. Getting the balance right is important when it comes to exercise. Exercise stimulates the release of endorphins, which makes us feel happy and relaxed afterwards. Getting enough exercise can also help us sleep better, which then helps us to cope with stress.”
Change of Habits and Lifestyle
Lifestyle changes can definitely prevent the onset of dementia. That’s because our habits and behavior greatly affect our brain health.
1. Dance Your Way to Brain Health!
What better way to beat the odds of Alzheimer’s and lift your spirits than to go dancing? If you really don’t know how to dance, why not take some dance classes? Furthermore, learning new things is a great workout for the brain.
“Needing to remember the steps in a dance is also a wonderful workout for your brain – learning the flow and rhythm of the music stimulates cognitive activity, while learning and performing the steps is great for both your memory and your physical fitness.” –Cassandra Burns.
2. Get Your Z’s
When we are asleep, the body gets rid of toxins that build up in the brain during the day. These toxins can hamper blood flow and that will eventually cause brain damage. Therefore, it’s vital to get enough z’s. In fact, it’s vital to get deep REM sleep because it’s during REM that the body goes to work to remove toxic build-up. For this reason, sleep deprivation can increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Sleep on your side
Nutritionist Dr Marilyn Glenville says, “When you sleep on your side, your body seems more able to remove the build-up of so-called ‘brain waste’ chemicals, such as beta-amyloid proteins, that are thought to contribute to dementia and other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s.”
3. Take B vitamins
B vitamins play an important role in fighting against age-related cognitive decline.You can top up on B vitamins by eating more fruit and vegetables.Add whole grains, meat and fish to your diet to boost your B vitamin intake.
Studies show that a large daily dose of vitamin B, B12, B6 and B9 or folic acid – slow cognitive decline in the elderly with mild memory problems. One clinical trial, partly funded by the Medical Research Council, discovered that high doses of the vitamins –especially B12 – can help to protect parts of the brain from shrinkage. B12, folic acid and B6 help to lower the levels of homocysteine, which is associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Subjects in the study with raised blood levels of homocysteine experienced shrinkage in the regions of the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease. However, the administration of B vitamins dramatically slowed the shrinkage.
4. Get Out in the Sun
Getting out in the sunshine will boost your vitamin D. And this vitamin is important for memory retention and processing information in the brain. It only takes from 15 to 30 minutes daily in natural sunlight to boost the D vitamins in your body. Get out and enjoy the sunlight today. It’s better than supplementing.
5. Prevent Diabetes symptoms
If you take steps to protect yourself from the onset of Diabetes, you’ll also be preventing Alzheimer’s. Those who suffer from Diabetes type 2 and who also have dementia will experience a more rapid decline cognitively.
6. Use It or Lose It
The Alzheimer’s Society recommends giving your brain a daily workout. It says, “This could be reading, doing puzzles, word searches or crosswords, playing cards or learning something new – maybe another language. If you can keep your mind active you are likely to reduce your risk of dementia. There is a bit less evidence but keeping socially engaged and having a good social network may also reduce your dementia risk.” In conclusion, socialize, visit others or have them visit you, volunteer or join a club.
7. Keep Physically Active and Eat Healthy
Last, but not least are the two most obvious preventative measures you can take to help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. We should all be getting at least 30 minutes of exercise every day, five times a week.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “You’ll need to be active enough to raise your heart rate and get a bit out of breath. You could walk, cycle, swim or join an exercise or dance group. Regular physical exercise in middle-aged or older adults reduces the risk of developing dementia. It’s also good for your heart and mental wellbeing. Exercise like this brings health benefits even if you’re not losing weight.”
In addition, a balanced diet provides lots of health benefits. These benefits include reducing the risk of dementia, stroke and heart disease, as well as type 2 diabetes.
Again, the Alzheimer’s Society says, “A healthy diet has a high proportion of oily fish, fruit, vegetables, unrefined cereals and olive oil, and low levels of red meat and sugar.
“Try to cut down on saturated fat (e.g cakes, biscuits, most cheeses) and limit sugary treats. Keep an eye on your salt intake too, because salt raises your blood pressure and risk of stroke. Read food labels to see what’s in them and seek out healthier options.”
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