Although no treatment regimen or drug therapy has been found as of yet to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, lifestyle choices and changes can make a significant difference in your risk of developing the condition.
Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention
Researchers are now discovering that certain lifestyle practices and healthy habits appear to reduce your likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s — and they say it’s never too early to start making healthy changes.
But what behaviors actually make a difference?
While no guarantees exist at this time, experts believe concentrating on the following five areas may give you the upper hand on this difficult and debilitating disease.
1. Eat Smart
Maintaining a healthy, low-fat diet is necessary when trying to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.
A Harvard study of 13,000 women, aged 70 and up, found that those who consumed the most vegetables — especially leafy green ones (like romaine lettuce and spinach) and cruciferous ones (like cauliflower and broccoli) — experienced a slower rate of cognitive diminishment than those who ate the least vegetables.
Turmeric, a traditional Indian spice, also shows potential in the prevention of Alzheimer’s. In animal studies, UCLA researchers found that Alzheimer’s-like brain plaques vanished after treatment with compounds present in this spice.
A diet packed with heart-healthy foods may also help keep the disease at bay.
High cholesterol raises the risk of developing Alzheimer’s as clogged arteries around the heart can cause damaged blood vessels in the brain.
Because it is thought that this type of damage may disrupt brain circuits crucial to memory, eating a diet low in trans fats and saturated fat may help keep cholesterol under control and prevent Alzheimer’s disease
Research shows that consuming foods that contain high levels of Omega-3 and fish oil at ;east twice a week can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 41% compared to others who only consume such foods once a month.
2. Get Moving
Simply going for a brisk walk may help to prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
An Australian study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association discovered that as little as six months of consistent exercise produced improvement in cognitive function and memory in a group of older adults.
Another six-year study of 1,700 seniors aged 65 and older found that exercising three or more times per week reduced the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s by 35 percent.
3. Cultivate and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Midlife obesity appears to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in later years.
A 2008 study conducted by Kaiser Permanente of 6,500 men and women discovered that those who were 30 or more pounds over their recommended weight and had accumulated a significant amount of belly fat in their 40s were 3.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s in later decades.
Studies also show that diabetes, which is associated with obesity, increases the risk of Alzheimer’s.
This may be because diabetes is associated with high cholesterol or may be a direct result of high blood sugar.
But losing weight during midlife, especially in the tummy area, can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Consider Supplements
Scientists are trying to determine if certain nutrients acquired in dietary-supplement form can aid in the prevention against Alzheimer’s.
Folic acid, which is known to decrease levels of the amino acid homocysteine, shows promise because increased homocysteine levels can raise the risk of both Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
In one European study, one dose daily of 800 mcg of folic acid lowered homocysteine levels and noticeably improved cognitive function and memory in a group of middle-aged and senior adults.
Other research has suggested that ginkgo biloba, a popular memory-enhancing herb, may be helpful in delaying the development or onset of Alzheimer’s.
5. Stay Mentally Active
Stimulating your brain is one of the easiest ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s.
Researchers at Rush University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center discovered that seniors who stayed mentally active by taking classes, doing crossword puzzles, and reading were more than twice as likely to remain unafflicted with Alzheimer’s disease in comparison to less mentally active individuals.
Other studies have produced similar results. Using your brain to form memories, solve problems, and learn new information not only helps to maintain existing brain circuits, but may also create new ones.
This could possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease from ever developing.
Hearthstone of Beaverton Serves As A Safe Haven For All Seniors
We provide direct access to a number of medical specialists and community staff members that are available 24 hours a day.
If your loved ones need support around personal organization, managing their medications, or any other type of assistance, our staff can provide immediate help.