1 in 9 Americans over the age of 65 have Alzheimer’s disease. That is huge! With odds like that, it’s important to realize it could be you some day. We don’t say that to scare you, but to wake you up so that you can do something about it.
Yes, you can do something about it! Alzheimer’s isn’t a disease that just creeps around the corner attacking certain victims. It has been shown to be a result of certain lifestyle choices, and that’s the good news, because it means it can be prevented or at least postponed (and in some cases reversed).
Wondering how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease? According to Prevention magazine, “in response to healthy behaviors, the brain can react like an exercised muscle, growing bigger and stronger, at any age.” The latest findings show that you can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 70-80% by taking preventative measures. That’s incredible and goes to show you how much influence we all have on our own health.
Following are some of the best ways to prevent Alzheimer’s disease…
When we are stressed, the memory center of the brain, known as the hippocampus, shrinks and hinders nerve cell growth, which adds to the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Schedule time to relax, meditate, inspire peace in your life and have fun and laugh, all of which help to reduce stress.
Ever hear the saying, “use it or lose it”? That is definitely the case when it comes to your brain. New mothers experience this when they stay home with their newborn. They often notice their brain becomes less sharp and doing things that involve thinking like reading or math becomes more difficult.
You can do your own brain exercises to strengthen and grow your brain. Try memorizing things, learning a new skill, studying a subject, and playing brain games and puzzles to stimulate your brain. Varying your daily habits and socialization also help to keep your mind sharp.
Nutrition plays a huge role in brain health. Eating things like vital oils, smart proteins, antioxidants, and slowly absorbed glucose, along with cutting down on toxic foods like artificial sweeteners and additives can help. Learn more about how to increase focus and brain power through nutrition here.
In addition, inflammation and insulin resistance is often a result of Alzheimer’s disease, therefore eating foods that help reduce inflammation and balance insulin levels (and avoiding foods that do the opposite) is beneficial for preventing or reducing Alzheimer’s symptoms. Stay away from trans fats, hydrogenated oils, polyunsaturated oils, refined carbohydrates, high-gluten foods, processed foods and excess sugar, and eat more vegetables, fruits, herbs, omega-3’s and probiotics.
Exercise helps boost the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is a protein that nurtures brain function. It also stimulates the brain, helps us make connections and retain memories, and reduces the cortisol in the body, a stress hormone that hinders brain function. It is important to get daily activity that increases your heart rate, as well as strength training exercises and balancing movements. If you have a sedentary job, this is especially important.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease can be reduced by up to 50% as a result of regular physical activity. Exercise also has the power to slow down the progression of the disease in people who are already experiencing symptoms. Click here to learn how to boost brain power with a workout.
Poor sleep is not only a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s also a factor in causing the disease. Sleep disruption can reduce mental focus and clarity and lead to a sluggish thought processes, putting you at risk for Alzheimer’s. Strive to get 8 hours of sleep each night, and no less than 7. Try these tips for better sleep.
Meditation is not just woo-woo stuff that only weird, spiritual people do. It has been proven to have incredible effects on the brain. For one, it helps to reduce the amount of cortisol in the body, and since cortisol has the power to quickly reduce brain function, that’s something we should all strive for.
Meditation can be intimidating for many people, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as easy as taking five minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breath. You don’t have to empty your brain – simply notice the thoughts that come and then let them drift away. As thoughts come in, bring your focus back to your breath.
As you start to meditate, you’ll notice the impact it has on your mind, body and spirit. It melts the stress from your body and can help reduce pain and unwanted symptoms.
Nutrients are essential to brain function, and most Americans don’t get the proper amount of nutrients they need. That’s where supplements can help. We are all deficient in different ways, so it is best to talk with your physician to see what supplements are suggested for you, but here are some of the supplements that are suggested for brain health in general:
Social interaction is not just fun; it’s also good for our health! People tend to have improved memory and cognition when they interact socially on a regular basis, and studies even show it reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s. Face-to-face interaction is what makes the most difference, so try engaging in clubs, social gatherings, community service, classes, and outings with friends and loved ones.
While all of the suggestions we have listed here fall into the category of healthy lifestyle habits, thinking in terms of adopting better lifestyle habits in general is important to note. Anything you can do to improve your habits will help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s. Some of these things include not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking enough water, and getting regular screenings will all help.
Learn More Here:
How to Beat Alzheimer’s at Its Own Game – The New Science of Prevention, by Mike Zimmerman Prevention Magazine, April 2015,