The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that research study participants who practiced certain healthy lifestyle behaviors exhibited a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s. While this disease is believed to be the result of many risk factors combined such as age, genetic predisposition, lifestyle, medical conditions and environment, people can rest assured that they can take actions today that will prevent or delay Alzheimer’s.
Researchers believe that there is a strong link between heart and brain health. Following heart-healthy lifestyle guidelines not only bolsters heart health but is also likely to improve brain health. In many cases the delay in developing symptoms is so late in life that the disease is much left disruptive, or practically-speaking, irrelevant.
Alzheimer’s Association recommends regular physical activity as an excellent way to put the odds in your favor to prevent or lower the risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s. The increased blood flow of oxygen to the brain resulting from exercise is believed to positively impact brain cells. Mayo Clinic reports that following a consistent exercise program also combats known Alzheimer’s risk factors that include obesity, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stress, diabetes and depression.
Even moderate exercise is believed to have benefits for brain health. Boomers should make it a priority to exercise from 30 to 60 minutes a day, five or six days per week. This amount of activity increases the size of the hippocampus which is associated with memory.
Not only does exercise increase blood supply to the brain, it also sends protective chemicals flowing to it. Additionally, Mayo Clinic reports that exercise appears to mitigate the typical impact of aging that reduces brain connections.
Medical research suggests that keeping your mind active will lessen the chance that your analytical skills decline as you age. Findings also indicate that even seniors who get Alzheimer’s respond well to practicing mental exercises, possibly spending fewer years with symptoms.
A variety of mental exercises have proven helpful for fighting Alzheimer’s and mental decline in general. The key is to keep your brain challenged.
Below are some activities to consider.
- Complete crossword puzzles
- Learn something new like a language or musical instrument
- Take classes
- Play memory games
- Participate in social activities
- Play board games
The Alzheimer’s Association touts two particular diets that have been shown to lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The Mediterranean diet and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet are two highly recommended eating plans worth considering.
The DASH diet specifically encourages eating plenty of fish, beans, poultry, nuts, whole grains, fruit, low-fat dairy, seeds and vegetable oil. Sugary beverages, red meat, sodium and sweets are discouraged or to be drastically limited.
A Mediterranean diet is another choice that medical researchers recommend for achieving optimal brain and heart health. Much like the DASH diet, red meat is discouraged in favor of fish and shellfish as protein sources. Fruit, vegetables, nuts and olive oil are all staples of this type of eating plan.
The Mayo Clinic guidelines listed below can help you eat better to achieve brain and heart health.
- Eat leafy greens six times a week
- Enjoy fish at least once a week
- Indulge in beans more than three times every seven days
- Add nuts into your diet a minimum of five times per week
- Eat berries a minimum of twice per week
- Add vegetables to your meal every day
- Stick to olive oil as a healthy fat
Diet recommendations would not be complete without a comprehensive list of foods to limit or eliminate from your meals for optimal brain and heart health.
Below are some foods and drinks that you need to carefully monitor.
- Eat less than one serving of cheese per week
- Limit alcoholic drinks to one per day
- Never eat more than one serving of fried food per week
- Limit pastries or sweets to five per week
- Add less than a tablespoon of butter or margarine daily
Health Goals for Lowering Your Risk of Alzheimer’s
Risk factors linked to Alzheimer’s should be managed to lower your risk. Healthline reports the following risk factors identified after 400 research studies were conducted. Head trauma, depression, high body mass index (BMI), hypertension during middle age years, high stress levels, diabetes, and dizziness are all associated with a higher probability of developing Alzheimer’s.
Head trauma, particularly in situations where you lose consciousness, is linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s. That’s why taking precautions to protect your head is always a good idea for many reasons, including the prevention of Alzheimer’s. Wearing a seat beat and a helmet when it makes sense is advisable.
Maintaining a healthy BMI is also a good strategy for preventing many diseases including heart disease and Alzheimer’s. By following the dietary guidelines mentioned above it will be easier to keep your weight in the healthy range.
Taking depression seriously is also an important precaution to take. Certain preventative measures can be taken to prevent depression. Regular exercise and getting enough sleep have proven to prevent depression in many cases.
For some people, getting medical advice is necessary for depression symptoms. Prescription drugs might be key to treat depression.
Taking preventative measures to decrease your odds for getting Alzheimer’s can save you and your family from the heartbreak that defines Alzheimer’s patients’ lives. Since genetics are to blame for some cases of this disease, there are no guarantees that preventative tips will prevent the disease, but maintaining your brain health can minimize the amount of time Alzheimer’s patients are symptomatic.