Alzheimer’s Prevention: Eliminating Risks
For many years, we have been told that there’s little we can do to prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other type of dementia but hope for the best and wait for a pharmaceutical cure. But the truth is you can reduce the risk by eating right, exercising, staying mentally and socially active, and keeping your stress in check. By leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, you may be able to prevent Alzheimer symptoms and slow down, or even reverse the process of deterioration.
The health of your brain, like the health of your body, depends on a variety of factors. While some factors, such as your genes are out of your control, many other lifestyle factors are within our sphere of influence. For example, six factors that are within a person’s reach includes: regular exercise, a healthy diet, promoting mental stimulation, getting adequate amounts of sleep, stress management, and having an active social life. The more a person strengthens these six factors in their daily life, the healthier and hardier your brain will be.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, physical exercise reduces our risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50 percent. Regular exercise can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive problems. The best benefits of exercise include: reducing stress, boosting your mood, improving memory, and increasing energy. All of which are key components in slowing down or even preventing Alzheimers and dementia.
Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs a nutritious diet to operate at its best. I would focus on eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats. Eating habits that reduce inflammation and provide a steady supply of fuel are best. Researchers believe that glial cells may help remove debris and toxins from the brain that contribute to the Alzheimer’s disease. Consuming foods such as ginger, green tea, fatty fish, soy products, blueberries, and other dark berries may protect these important cells from damage.
Our brain needs regular, restful sleep in order to function at optimum capacity. Sleep deprivation not only leaves you cranky and tired, but impairs our ability to think, problem-solve, and process, store, and recall information. Deep, dreamy sleep is critical for memory formation and retention. If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and affecting your mood, you may be at greater risk of developing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The vast majority of adults need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Any less, and productivity and creativity suffers.
Stress that is chronic or severe takes a heavy toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in a key memory area of the brain known as the hippocampus, hampering nerve cell growth, and increasing your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Yet simple daily tools can minimize its harmful effects. Some things that a person can do to minimize stress includes: breathing, scheduling daily relaxation exercises and activities, and nourishing inner peace.
Keeping all of the above in mind, knowing that the Alzheimer’s disease has affected my family, I would implement the factors into my daily lifestyle to reduce my chances of ever facing the disease. Hopefully, society will eventually be able to discover a cure and eliminate worldwide suffering; until then, I hope that after reading this, people are able to lead a brain-healthy lifestyle.
“Alzheimer’s & Dementia Prevention and Risk | Research Center | Alzheimer’s Association.” Alzheimer’s Association. 19 Apr. 2010. Web. 8 May 2015.
“4 PILLARS OF PREVENTION.” 4 Pillars of Prevention. 3 Mar. 2011. Web. 8 May 2015.