Health Strategies For Preventing Alzheimer’s

foodforthoughtWhile there’s currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, new research indicates that there are a number of healthy lifestyle strategies that can help most people reduce the risk of getting it.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the key factors that increase the risk of getting Alzheimer’s are advanced age, family history and heredity, but research shows that our general health plays a factor too. While we can’t do much about our age, family or genes, we do have control over how we treat our body and brain.

Some medical experts even estimate that by following these healthy tips now, in middle age, you can actually reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 50 percent, or at least delay its onset by a few years. Here are the recommended strategies.

Manage health problems: Studies have consistently shown that Alzheimer’s disease is closely related to conditions, like diabetes and heart disease. So, if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes, you need to treat them with lifestyle changes and medication (if necessary) and get them under control.

Left untreated, these diseases over time will cause damage to the vessels that feed blood to the brain, making them more vulnerable to damage, and increasing your risk of dementia.

Exercise: Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to all parts of your body, including your brain, to keep the brain cells well nourished. So choose an aerobic activity you enjoy like walking, cycling, dancing, swimming, etc., that elevates your heart rate and do it for at least 30 to 40 minutes three times a week.

Eat healthy: A heart-healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet, will also help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats. Also keep processed foods and sweets to a minimum.

Sleep well: Quality, restful sleep contributes to brain health too. Typically, adults should get between seven and nine hours of sleep daily. If you have persistent problems sleeping, you need to identify and address the problem. Medications, late-night exercise and alcohol can interfere with sleep quality and length, as can arthritis pain, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

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