In the United States alone, there will be nearly half a million new cases of Alzheimer’s disease this year. Globally, it is estimated that a new diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease is made every three seconds. Alzheimer’s disease is a devastating disorder with no cure. It usually starts with short-term memory loss, which is followed by serious behavior and language problems. Eventually, the majority of Alzheimer’s patients will no longer be able to take care of themselves and require admission to a long-term care facility. The thought of developing Alzheimer’s disease is frightening, especially if you have witnessed how it can create havoc not only in the affected person but all those around him or her. So far, no cure has been found for the disorder, but observations indicate that perhaps natural Alzheimer’s prevention in the form of lifestyle changes can help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Today, healthcare workers are encouraging the public to control their risk factors and adopt a positive lifestyle. Solid evidence indicates that these changes can preserve brain health, retain cognitive abilities for much longer, and enhance the quality of life. The good news is that to preserve brain function and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, one does not have to go to extremes but utilize natural Alzheimer’s prevention methods of avoiding the disease.
Tips to Naturally Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
There are natural Alzheimer’s prevention actions you can take to try to thwart the disease. You can follow the good habits that are suggested to help ward off other illnesses: exercise and a natural Alzheimer’s prevention diet.
- Physical activity: It doesn’t matter what exercise you perform as long as you become physically active. And it is never too late to start exercising. If you’ve been inactive for some time, then starting an exercise program may be difficult. Start slowly with something easy, like walking. Besides walking, you can swim, jog, bicycle, or perform light aerobics. Whatever activity you choose, it must be maintained regularly, and walking should be for at least 30-45 minutes every day. When you walk, you can enjoy nature, it helps you lose weight, you can also lower your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. More importantly, walking is free and usually devoid of complications. Choose an activity that you enjoy so you will continue doing it. You can then increase the duration and add more variety to your exercise regimen.
- Head protection: There is no longer any doubt that head trauma is a major risk factor for dementia. Therefore, if you plan to do any type of contact sport, wear appropriate headgear for protection. In addition, do exercises that help coordinate your muscles and increase your balance. By becoming agile, you can take steps now to avoid falls later in life.
- Social interaction: There is ample evidence showing that seniors who have a rich network of family and friends have a low risk of dementia and maintain their cognitive abilities for much longer as they age. Some of the things you can do to increase your social interactions include:
- Volunteer at a food bank, hospital, or school
- Visit the local senior center
- Join a social group or club
- Join a gym for seniors or a bingo club
- Visit the public library regularly
- Run errands for your neighbors or visit sick friends at a long-term care center
- Make a weekly schedule of things you would like to do
- Go out more often (visit a museum, walk at a zoo, stroll through a public park)
Social interaction can include supporting one another, undertaking multigroup activities, and communicating regularly.
- Watch your weight: Obesity is a risk factor for many disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. People who are obese are twice as likely to develop some type of dementia much earlier in life than people who are at a healthy weight. By losing weight, you not only have better control of your blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol, but you can also enhance your self-esteem and confidence. Best of all, your mental clarity remains intact for many years to come.
- Healthy diet: There is no question that eating healthy is key to good overall health. By eating healthy, you can lower your blood sugar and cholesterol, and also avoid weight gain. By following a natural Alzheimer’s prevention diet, you can increase the chances that you might get the disease. The recommendation today is to eat a plant-based diet rather than red meat. In addition, you should eat ample fiber, a variety of nuts, low-fat dairy, use unsaturated oils, eat fish regularly, and limit the intake of salt and sugar. The main principle is to eat food in moderation. The two diets you may wish to consider include the DASH diet for blood pressure control and the Mediterranean diet to reduce heart disease and stroke. Consult with a nutritionist to help you make a menu.
- Mental stimulation: Overall, there is solid evidence that people who have always been mentally active in their lives tend to have a very low risk for Alzheimer’s disease. To boost your mind, you can do the following:
- Crossword puzzles.
- When it’s called for, do simple math in your head or on paper in lieu of a calculator
- Read more; you may want to join a book club.
- In addition, play mentally challenging games, like chess, bridge, or computer games.
- Finally, do things in the home that stimulate your mind, like gardening, repairing small appliances, or making simple tools.
- Get quality sleep: There is good evidence indicating that people who practice good sleep habits have less stress and are more productive. Poor sleep has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, and premature death. The key to good sleep habits is to sleep at least 8 hours a night, avoid too much caffeine before bedtime, limit exercise 3 hours before sleep time, go to sleep and get up at the same time every day, and remove all distractions from the bedroom. Good sleep also leads to a more positive outlook on life.
- Stress management: Uncontrolled stress is associated with a high risk of heart disease, stroke, and a very poor quality of life. It is vital to control stress as it can significantly lower the risk of all types of disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease. To reduce stress, start meditating, practice yoga, practice deep breathing exercises, perform tai chi, or join a class of spiritualism.
- Improve vascular health: More and more evidence suggest that the health of the brain and heart are interlinked. If heart health is poor, so will be brain health. The chief denominator is a disease of the blood vessels. The major disease that affects blood vessels in the heart and brain is atherosclerosis. Therefore, healthcare workers now suggest that people improve the health of their blood vessels. This means eating healthier, lowering cholesterol levels, discontinuing smoking, controlling blood pressure and diabetes, and exercising regularly. Population studies show that people with good heart health have a very low risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Control your blood pressure: One of the strongest risk factors for developing dementia is high blood pressure. Constant high blood pressure is known to damage the fragile vessels in the brain, which are responsible for memory, behavior, and cognitive functions. The American Heart Association (AMA) recommends blood pressure of less than 130/80; if the levels are higher than this, it can increase the risk for dementia. Remain compliant with blood pressure medications, get in the habit of monitoring your blood pressure at home, and follow up closely with your heart doctor. Today, you can purchase a blood pressure monitoring device that records and sends the data to your healthcare provider.
- Supplements: There are dozens of supplements, herbs, and minerals being marketed for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. In reality, there is no good evidence that these supplements work or are beneficial. In fact, the world of supplements is replete with pseudoscience products, and there is no quality control. If you do decide to take a supplement, speak to your healthcare provider first and buy the item from a reputable dealer. Finally, remember, no matter what the vendors tell you, supplements are not a replacement for sound medical advice.
It is known that Alzheimer’s disease is not simply due to advancing age. While the exact cause remains a mystery, several risk factors have been identified. Since there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, it is highly recommended that seniors change their lifestyles and reduce their risk factors. Following a natural Alzheimer’s prevention diet can prove very beneficial. It is never too late to start taking care of brain health and the more you take steps to improve your lifestyle, the lower the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Start adopting good eating habits, exercise regularly, and maintain a good social support system; it’s important for your long-term health.
The professionals at Cano Health strive to help seniors make the best choices possible for their healthcare. Call them today at 1-855-975-5119 to learn more and get started on changing your lifestyle for the betterment of your future.