Researchers across the world are racing towards a cure for Alzheimer’s disease. But as prevalence rates climb (Alzheimer’s cases are expected to triple by 2050, to around 106 million worldwide), their focus has broadened from treatment to prevention strategies. *What they’ve discovered is that it may be possible to prevent or delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias through a combination of healthful habits. While Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 percent of dementia cases, vascular dementia accounts for up to 40 percent in older adults, and there is much you can do to prevent this type of dementia. Dr. William Thies of the Alzheimer’s Association stated, “We can’t do anything about aging or family history, but research continues to show us that there are lifestyle decisions we all can make to keep our brains healthier, and that also may lower our risk of memory decline as we age.”
*Like other parts of your body, your brain may lose some agility as you get older. It can deteriorate even more if you don’t take care of it. Science is unlocking many of the mysteries of the brain, but we don’t have all the answers yet. You can do everything “right” and still not prevent Alzheimer’s disease. You can help reduce or even eliminate your risk for Dementia and AD by making brain-healthy life choices.
Stay Physically Active
*Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias.
*Growing evidence shows that physical exercise does not have to be strenuous or even require a major time commitment. It is most effective when done regularly, and in combination with a brain-healthy diet, mental activity and social interaction.
Adopt a Brain Healthy Diet
*According to the most current research, a brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol. Like the heart, the brain needs the right balance of nutrients, including protein and sugar, to function well. A brain-healthy diet is most effective when combined with physical and mental activity and social interaction.
*Manage your body weight for overall good health of brain and body. A long-term study of 1,500 adults found that those who were obese in middle age were twice as likely to develop dementia in later life. Those who also had high cholesterol and high blood pressure had six times the risk of dementia. Adopt an overall food lifestyle, rather than a short-term diet, and eat in moderation.
*Reduce your intake of foods high in fat and cholesterol. Studies have shown that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol clogs the arteries and is associated with higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. However, HDL (or “good”) cholesterol may help protect brain cells. Use mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, for example. Try baking or grilling food instead of frying.
*Increase your intake of protective foods. Current research suggests that certain foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and appear to protect brain cells.
*In general, dark-skinned fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidant levels. Such vegetables include: kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell pepper, onion, corn and eggplant. Fruits with high antioxidant levels include prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries.
Cold water fish contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids: halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna.
Some nuts can be a useful part of your diet; almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
*Cold water fish contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids: halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna. Some nuts can be a useful part of your diet; almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.