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How To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Dementia, or age-related memory loss, can be devastating for both those who suffer from it, and their families. One of the most severe forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative condition affecting millions of people around the world. Its name comes from the work of Dr. Alois Alzheimer, a physician who lived in Germany in the early 20th century. In 1906, he performed an autopsy on a recently deceased elderly woman. He discovered that her brain had become shriveled and neurons had become tangled up. The woman had been suffering from memory loss prior to death, and so the condition was named after the doctor who discovered the link.
While there is not a “cure” per se for Alzheimer’s disease, our understanding of what the disease is, what causes it, and how to prevent it has increased dramatically since it’s initial discovery. The truth is that Alzheimer’s disease, and other forms of dementia, are not an inevitable part of growing older. In this article, we’ll explain some practical lifestyle changes you can make that will keep you brain healthy and strong well into old age. The article will explain you how to protect your brain from Alzheimer’s Disease.
Everyone knows that you should eat healthy, but most people think this only applies to physical health and that their mental performance isn’t affected by what foods they consume. Nothing could be further from the truth. New research has shown that one’s diet can play an enormously important role in brain function and long term health.
You’ve probably experienced an energy crash or “brain fog” after eating sugar, high-carb foods, or drinking low quality coffee. That’s not a coincidence. Putting poor quality “fuel” into your body can impair your cognitive functioning temporarily, and over the course of a lifetime it can increase your chances of developing neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s disease.
By contrast, eating a healthy diet with the right ingredients improves your brain function and can ensure a sharp mind all the way to the end of life. There are two diets in particular which are excellent for preserving the health of the brain. The first is the Mediterranean Diet, which features lots of olive oil, fish, lean proteins, and vegetables. Already considered one of the healthiest diets in the world, it is particularly good for the brain because it offers plenty of omega-3 fatty acids.
Another option is the “MIND” Diet. This diet has a rather fitting acronym and is specifically designed to prevent the onset of age-related cognitive decline. It stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay”. It is a hybrid of the aforementioned Mediterranean Diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet), which is designed for people with high blood pressure.
The MIND diet places a strong emphasis on fish, poultry olive oil, nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables (and of course, red wine). The diet also restricts red meat, dairy products, fried and fast foods and sugary snacks.
A 5-year study on elderly patients at Rush University Medical Center found an incredible 53 percent reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
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2. Exercise and Sleep
Researchers have found that getting regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by up to 50 percent. The modern lifestyle of sitting at work, sitting at home, and sitting in traffic is not healthy at all. Our bodies are simply not designed to be so sedentary. The brain and body work together, and when we do not move, the both begin to atrophy.
Also important is getting enough sleep. It is when you are asleep that your brain “cleans” itself and gets rid of the microscopic debris that accumulates in the brain as a result of neural activity. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your brain is not able to clear this buildup away. Over time, this can increase your chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Maintain a strong social network
We as humans are social animals. We are meant to live in groups. Even our most primitive ancestors and our ape cousins today live in large social groups. Being around and interacting with others regularly keeps us mentally engaged and keeps our minds sharper. Research has found that having a strong social network with meaningful, positive relationships plays a big role in reducing one’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
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A healthy life is the result of healthy choices. Follow these simple steps and you can enjoy a long life free of the menace that is age-related cognitive decline.