Certain factors like the natural process of aging and genetics have always been the top culprits behind the development of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases.
The symptoms of Alzheimer’s come far too late, as the buildup of harmful plaques that causes memory loss to develop earlier before it becomes noticeable. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s increases dramatically after 65, and eventually hits individuals the hardest once they reach their 80’s and 90’s.
Despite the fact that the baby boomer generation is living much longer these days, which is a great thing, the risk of eventually developing Alzheimer’s is higher than ever. Although there is no known cure for the disease, there are ways to lessen your chances of developing it that will help you live a healthier life today and in your future.
Work it Out
-> The Facts: Research has shown that individuals rarely exercise have a higher change of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but really- the key to everything, from weight loss to managing a healthy heart rate, is exercise, and the earlier you start, the better. Exercise trains more than just the body- it trains your brain! When we exercise, our brain produces endorphins, which not only make us feel happier when we’ve finished a workout, but decreases our stress levels.
The brain also releases a protein known as BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) when you exercise. This is what helps regenerate our memory and promotes the growth of new brain cells!
Don’t underestimate the power of staying active and commit to exercising at least three times a week to improve your overall health and brain power.
- Try doing low-impacts exercises that won’t strain your joints or require you to lift, push or pull an excessive amount of weight.
- A fun way to raise heart rate without straining your body too much is dancing. Now, who doesn’t love to dance? Studies have shown that dancing is the number one form of exercise that significantly reduces the risk of developing any form of dementia.
- Building muscle mass has been linked to preventing diabetes, which is another key risk factor to developing Alzheimer’s so if you can, try lifting a lighter set of weights for a few minutes while sitting to and maintain your upper body strength.
-> The Facts: When it comes to brain health, there are certain foods that are key to maintaining brain health and overall cognitive ability.
According to studies, those who follow a mainly Mediterranean diet were shown to have a 28 percent lower risk of developing MCI and a 48 percent lower risk of progressing from having mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease.
But your best bet is to follow a diet that is rich in antioxidants, fruits and vegetables, so stock up and find new ways to incorporate it into your diet.
There’s more to your spice cabinet than just flavor- some like rosemary and turmeric that have been used for centuries are known for their brain-boosting components.
The Mediterranean Diet is much more than just olive oil and salad. Those who follow a Mediterranean diet enjoy:
- Very little red meat
- Whole grains
- Fruits and vegetables
- Fish and shellfish
- Nuts, olive oil and healthy fats
But remember to always limit:
- Red meat
- Sweets and processed food
Never Put Down you Book
-> The Facts: When it comes to maintaining brain function, there is nothing better than a brain workout – literally.
According to studies, learning, memorizing and solving problems each day has led to a significant improvement of your cognitive reserve. This is the area of your brain that store memories and ability to perform certain actions as you grow older.
If you’ve the type of person that’s always been curious about the latest news and fashion trends, takes on new hobbies and better yet, tries things way out of your comfort zone- you’re set. But often times, because of our lifestyle, health condition and age, it becomes much harder to get out and try new things.
Try the following:
- Read daily.
- Learn a new language (or sign up for a dance class!)
- Do a puzzle once in a while
- Download a brain-boot camp app on your iPad or mobile device, like Lumosity (by Lumos Labs, Inc.)
Maggie Drag is an owner and founder of a homecare agency located in central Connecticut. With over 27 years of experience in the industry, Maggie shares her knowledge and tips about care at home. Visit homecare4u.com to learn more about Maggie Drag.