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How to prevent Alzheimer's Disease

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

There is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer's disease, but some studies show possible preventions methods. Nearly 30 million people around the world suffer from Alzheimer's disease. It is the most common form of dementia and it is a progressive disease, meaning that it worsens as time goes on. The disease is most commonly diagnosed in persons over 65 years old. What starts as mild forgetfulness can develop into complete dependence on caregivers, and many persons with the disease end up in nursing homes. Anyone who has had a loved one suffer from this ailment knows how devastating its effects can be. 

There is no cure for Alzheimer's disease, but the latest scientific research shows us that there are ways to possibly prevent it. Here are some of the most effective measures.

Exercise

The importance of physical activity for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease can not be overstated. A partial explanation is that circulation to the brain is improved with regular exercise. With improved circulation toxins are removed from the brain and oxygen and nutrients are delivered. Overwhelming evidence has shown the protective benefits of exercise. Above and beyond any other preventive measure, exercise is number one.

Don’t smoke, don’t drink (too much)

Smoking is bad for your brain. Even though smoking might not directly cause dementia, cigarettes significantly increase the chance of heart disease and stroke. Alcohol also can be brain toxic, but with a caveat. Red wine, up to one glass per day, might actually protect the brain. Resveratrol, a substance found in red wine, increases cerebral blood flow. So some lifestyle changes can possibly help prevent Alzheimer's disease.

Special foods and vitamins

Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants and might help prevent Alzheimer's disease. These protect against free radical formation which destroy bran cells. Brain aging is slowed by foods rich in antioxidants. Some examples are:

·         Veggies: spinach, alfalfa sprouts, red bell peppers, beets, eggplant, and broccoli

·         Fruits: plums, oranges, cherries, grapes, prunes, raisins, blackberries, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries

·         Fish (especially those rich in omega-3 fatty acids): Salmon, tuna, herring, halibut, mackerel, trout, sardines  

Some of the latest research in Alzheimer prevention reveals that foods rich in curcumin, which is found in curried dishes, can protect the brain. In some Indian villages where they eat a lot of this spice, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease was found to be only 25% as common as in the USA.

Also found to be helpful are ginkgo biloba, green tea, vitamin B12, folate, vitamin E, and vitamin C.  Seaweed (marine algae) is rich in DHA which is also good for memory enhancement.

Stay connected

An active social life is essential to maintaining proper mental health. Studies show that persons connected socially (clubs, church, etc…) are less likely to develop depression and Alzheimer's disease. We are social creatures and leading a social life is programmed into our health.

Exercise your brain

The key here is newness and learning may help prevent Alzheimer's disease. A new sport or a new language – anything different, stimulating or challenging is good for preventing mental deterioration. Maybe you can take up playing a musical instrument. Or you can study for a degree at your local community college. There are also brain teasers, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and games like Scrabble. Anything to make you think creatively and analytically is good. Mental exercise keeps the mind fit.

Avoid Stress

Chronic stress increases the levels of cortisol in the blood. This persistent elevation harms brain cells and causes brain shrinkage. So let it slide and simplify your life as much as possible in order to decrease your chances of developing Alzheimer's disease. If you can’t seem to reduce stress then see a health specialist to make sure you don’t have an anxiety disorder or depression.

Conclusion

Physical and mental exercise must be done on a regular basis for the long term. Dietary modifications should be implemented regularly and permanently. A sharp and healthy brain requires a lifelong commitment, but the rewards will last a lifetime as well. A healthy lifestyle, along with regular mental stimulation, can help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.  

The healthy brain
Credit: IssacMao via Flickr
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