Alzheimer’s disease is expected to triple within the next 30 years. Not recognizing loved ones, getting lost on your way home and forgetting precious life moments is incredibly scary. There is no current cure but with more and more research happening we are seeing ways to reduce our risk. Research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference has shown that there are small changes you can implement in your daily life to decrease your risk of developing the disease. These lifestyle changes can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other dementias by 60%!
What are these lifestyle changes?
- Eat Right for your brain
What you eat can either support or harm your brain. It’s been shown that red meat, sugar and processed foods all increase inflammation in the brain, whereas, vegetables, fruit, healthy oils, seeds and fish reduce brain inflammation and actually protect neurons from damage. The Mediterranean diet provides a great nutritional base for a healthy brain.
- Intermittent fasting
Allowing your body 14-16hrs per day to focus on tasks other than digestion is greatly beneficial. During these fasting periods your body can focus on clearing out toxin build up in the brain, eliminating free radicals and carcinogens, increasing it’s growth hormone production, increasing blood flow to the brain, balancing out your blood sugar and so much more. Intermittent fasting is important for much more than just weight loss.
Exercising at least 30 minutes per day has shown to improve health across the board, including brain function. A combination of strength training, high intensity interval training, coordination exercise like dance, tennis and mind exercise such as yoga or tai chi is ideal for optimal brain health and activity.
- Stop smoking (cigarettes, marijuana, e-cigarettes)
Smoking, whether it is cigarettes, marijuana or vaping all lead to increased toxins in the brain. Not only that, they damage blood vessels and ultimately decrease essential blood flow to the brain cells. Decreased blood flow is the number one indicator of Alzheimer’s disease on brain imaging scans.
- Avoid excessive alcohol consumption
It has been shown over and over again that daily alcohol consumption leads to smaller brain size on imaging scans. Social drinking every now and again is OK, but should be limited to no more than 2 alcoholic drinks per week.
- Do simple brain exercises daily
Different types of mental exercises use different parts of our brain. It’s best to activate the different parts of the brain on a daily basis. Our prefrontal cortex loves crossword puzzles and games where you have to plan and think ahead, such as chess. Our cerebellum needs movement for activation so tennis, dance and ping pong are great for it. Great activities for our temporal and parietal lobes are learning new music or dances, juggling and memory puzzles. So try switching up your exercise and brain exercises to include all the parts of the brain.
- Get a minimum of 8hrs of sleep per night
I can’t overemphasize the need for quality sleep when it comes to decreasing your risk of Alzheimer’s. If you are struggling with sleep please reach out so we can help. Maybe your sleep issues are due to a hormone decline, low melatonin or other neurotransmitter, sleep apnea and/or high stress and cortisol. There is so much we can do to get our sleep back on track.
Changes in the brain that ultimately lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia start occurring 20 years before any symptoms start to appear. So, the earlier you can make some of these changes the better. Alzheimer’s and dementia are complex illnesses that are greatly influenced by other health issues. So if we can take care of our health by eating right, exercising and getting enough sleep our heart, brain and general life will greatly benefit.
We’re in the process of putting together a brain kit to help you with all areas of brain health. We’ve put together the right balance of supplements, nutritional guidelines and shopping lists along with the best technology to help protect our brain and promote healthy balanced brain wave activity. We’ll keep you posted on the progress….