While genetics and DNA are Alzheimer’s-inducing factors that of course cannot be changed, there are thankfully ways to help slow down its onset or possibly prevent its severity.
Through diet, nutrition, socializing and sleep, you can start implementing a more proactive approach to your health, decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s Disease and improve your overall quality of life!
At Fountain Life, we also implement Precision Diagnostics to help detect neurological and degenerative diseases at their very start, when action can be taken.
Read the full article and begin your proactive lifestyle today!
Boost your brain with the right foods
The changes in the brain that lead to Alzheimer’s usually begin years before any symptoms are found. While this hidden change in brain chemistry might sound scary, it actually presents patients with a pivotal time to try to implement some lifestyle changes that might reduce the severity of the disease.
The Mediterranean and MIND diets have shown some promising results in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation, precursors of Alzheimer’s. The diets also reduce risk of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, which are also linked to increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s. If you’re concerned about any of these health issues or just want to live a healthier lifestyle, the Mediterranean and MIND diets are a great place to start.
The Mediterranean diet features lots of fish, legumes, and unsaturated fats like olive oil, with a reduction of red meat and sweets, and is derived from the local diets of cultures surrounding the Mediterranean sea. The MIND diet is similar but specifically tailored to prevent cognitive decline, and focuses on lots of green, leafy vegetables, whole grains, fish and lean poultry, and berries. And good news: both diets encourage a glass of wine with dinner every so often, so you don’t have to give up all of life’s simple pleasures to regulate your brain health.
Cognitive health starts with exercise
The benefits of a regular exercise regimen positively impact nearly all aspects of a person’s life, and a major included benefit is Alzheimer’s prevention. The Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation found that regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing the disease by up to 50%. Exercise also helps with sleep regulation, energy levels, and weight loss, so what’s to lose?
Exercise stimulates the brain’s ability to make connections and maintain the memories it has already made. It can also slow down cognitive decline once it starts, so it’s really never too late to start integrating an exercise program into your life. An average of 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise, like brisk walking, swimming, and yoga or Tai Chi, is recommended in order to see effects.
Even a small amount of exercise helps, so if a whole new lifestyle plan sounds intimidating at first, remember that you can incorporate it gently. Start by taking evening walks with a family member or friend, or enroll in one Tai Chi class a week, and you’re already off to a great start!
Socialization helps brain functionality
Humans are by nature very social creatures. An unfortunate side effect of aging is often isolation from one’s family or friends, and loneliness takes a real toll on both mental and physical health. Incorporating weekly social regimens helps keep the brain active with social stimulus, and helps one feel tethered to a structure of time and place. We’re often used to our lives being ruled by schedules and appointments, and the lack of routine post-retirement can end up feeling rather disorienting.
Group classes, clubs, or regularly meeting up with other folks to go to a museum or restaurant are great ways to keep the mind active and keep people feeling socially stimulated. Social activities help the brain focus on the present moment, too — it’s a lot harder to lose yourself daydreaming when someone is looking across at you and expecting an answer to their question!
Consider enrolling in a weekly activity that piques your interest and includes other people. A Tuesday bridge club, for example, helps give participants a sense of schedule while engaging the mind in a fun, brain-stimulating game.
Sleep quality greatly affects the mind
If you’ve ever struggled with insomnia or gotten even one bad night of sleep, you know how difficult it can feel to go about your life as usual. Studies have linked bad sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain, a metabolic waste product that’s found in the fluid between neurons. When it clumps together in one’s brain, the clusters form amyloid plaques which halt communication between brain cells. In other words, poor sleep causes a protein buildup in your brain that, over time, increases memory loss and cognitive impairment and is directly linked to Alzheimer’s.
Establishing a regular sleep schedule is one of the best ways to combat sleep loss. Try going to bed and waking up at the same time every day– even weekends! Creating a wind down nighttime routine also helps prepare the body and mind for restful sleep. This might look like taking an evening bath and reading before bed, meditating, or listening to calming music and having a cup of decaffeinated tea. If sleep trouble continues to be an issue, consult your doctor to talk about ways to help.
While genetics and DNA are Alzheimer’s-inducing factors that of course cannot be changed, there are thankfully ways to help slow down its onset or possibly prevent its severity. All of the tips that lead to a decreased risk of Alzheimer’s improve one’s quality of life overall, so it’s never a bad time to start implementing them!