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Lifestyle Changes can Mean Life or Death When it Comes to Alzheimer’s Prevention

Posted by on Sunday, June 30th, 2013

Alzheimer’s disease is currently the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. The disease affects more than 5 million people, and that number continues to grow.  Not only is Alzheimer’s a debilitating disease, it is also fatal.  As discussed in the new Alzheimer’s diet book, what can you do today to avoid becoming part of the growing statistics and join the fight in Alzheimer’s prevention? 

Alzheimer's prevention suggestions

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The answer is that the lifestyle choice you make today can have a profound impact on your future health including Alzheimer’s prevention.  There are several factors that play a part in Alzheimer’s prevention according to recent medical studies.

 Alzheimer’s Prevention Nutrition

One of the best choices you can make is to maintain a healthy Alzheimer’s diet.  This includes eating as many fresh foods as you can find with an emphasis on bright colored fruits and vegetables-high in antioxidants, also called flavonoids. The Alzheimer’s diet should mimic the popular Mediterranean diet by incorporating fruits and vegetables, lean meats such as chicken and turkey, wild caught fish, high in healthy omega 3 fatty acids, and a variety of healthy legumes, nuts, and seeds.  This diet allows you to eat a low saturated fat diet (that includes a variety of healthy fats, such as those found in olive oil, fish, and nuts) which limits bad carbohydrates-those high on the glycemic index.  Refined carbohydrates and saturated fats have both been found to cause cognitive issues.

Dr. Richard Isaacson, and Dr. Christopher Ochner, co-authors of “The Alzheimer’s Diet book: A Step By Step Nutritional Approach For Memory Loss Prevention And Treatment,” recommends taking an Omega-3 supplement (DHA) as well as vitamin B6 and B12, which all support memory function and overall health of the brain.  The addition, including coffee and cocoa in your daily diet has also been shown to have positive effects, but moderation is the key.  

Fitness for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Fitness for Alzheimer's prevention

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Along with a modified diet it is important to get plenty of exercise.  What researchers are learning is that what’s good for the heart is also good for the brain.  Since your brain is made up of a network of blood vessels, it’s important to make sure the vessel network in the body is clear in order to nourish the brain properly.  Exercise offers a two-fold benefit, not only does it increase blood flow in the brain, but also counteracts stress as well as fighting obesity, all of which can help prevent cognitive decline. 

The exercises should be varied and challenging.  Some great choices are; aerobics, walking, biking, Tai Chi (which also helps with balance), or yoga (which is mental and physical).  Another technique to utilize while you are exercising is to try to make it as mentally challenging as possible.  For instance, if you walk, change your route frequently; it will challenge your brain.  If you are weight training, consider listening to educational broadcasts, particularly those that take a different view than you have.  This will take mental effort to ponder a different perspective than your own.  The point is to shake up the routine and keep your brain and body stimulated for Alzheimer’s prevention.

Stimulation for the Brain

In keeping with mental stimulation for Alzheimer’s prevention, it’s important that you also seek out continuous mental activities to keep your brain flexible and ready to learn.  Some of the best ways to increase mental stimulation are to do activities that you already enjoy doing.  You can continue on with a hobby like model building, gardening, painting, etc. these activities involve planning, and following detailed protocols.  The challenges can be increased by including projects you haven’t done before.  For instance, cultivate a new plant variety or if you build model ships, build model cars.  The point is that you are constantly challenging yourself and your mental capabilities.

If hobbies aren’t your thing, try learning a musical instrument or do the crossword in your daily newspaper.  You can also read books outside of your normal genre to plant new ideas and therefore new neural connections to expand your gray matter.

Brain apps for Alzheimer's prevention

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According to Care-Giving-Cafe.com, “Research suggests that some cognitive damage can actually be reversed by adjusting our way of life to include physical exercise, a healthy diet and mental stimulation.  This could bring a glimmer of hope for Alzheimer’s patients.”

Another great activity that stimulates the mind is solving Sudoku puzzles.  According to boomers-with-elderly-parents.com, “Sudoku is a number mind game that can be played online or in a puzzle book, offering mental stimulation to all ages. It’s beneficial for seniors. Why? Because it requires focus, attention, math and reasoning skills.”

An additional adjustment in lifestyle recommended for Alzheimer’s prevention is to be sure to get plenty of sleep.  Exercising daily and abstaining from drinking alcohol and caffeine before bedtime can help with Alzheimer’s by promoting a good nights sleep.  For adults, approximately 8 hours of sleep per night is recommended. 

In Conclusion

Alzheimer’s disease is a very debilitating disease that can affect every member of the family.  Facing the problem head on and doing everything you can for Alzheimer’s prevention will help maintain overall health as well as keeping your brain sharp. Fortunately the solution is not unattainable; simply eat right, exercise regularly, and never stop attempting to learn new things.  All you have to do now is get out there and do it.

For more easy to follow nutrition advice check out The Alzheimer’s Diet: A Step-by-Step Nutritional Approach to Memory Loss Prevention and Treatment, or visit theadplan.com to learn more about Neurologist, Dr. Richard Isaacson's 9 week diet plan and his cutting edge approach in the fight against AD in Alzheimer's Treatment | Alzheimer's Prevention: A Patient and Family Guide 2012 Edition. Also, sign up for the newsletter to get the latest updates in AD treatment and prevention news.

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