Avoiding Alzheimer’s: Diet and Lifestyle Tips to Stay Sharp Forever

Six Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain

brain-food

If someone told you that you could avoid Alzheimer’s by tweaking your lifestyle a bit, would you do it?

Of course you would, right? But that’s silly. Nobody knows what causes Alzheimer’s, so how can you avoid it? Oh contraire. New breakthroughs in research indicate that you can drastically reduce (or possibly even eliminate) your odds of developing that dreaded disease.

What the new research found, in a nutshell, is that Alzheimer’s is a metabolic disorder related to insulin and insulin growth factor resistance or deficiency, oxidative stress, DNA damage and mitochondrial dysfunction. In plain English, Alzheimer’s is now justifiably being called Type-3 diabetes, or brain diabetes.

What this means in practical terms is that there are now ways that you can drastically reduce, or even avoid Alzheimer’s altogether. Since it’s a metabolic disorder, diet and exercise are the main keys, but coping appropriately with stress is important, too.

Ditch the Junkfood

Since the link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s has been made, avoiding a diet that causes chronically high blood glucose levels is imperative to maintaining brain health. This doesn’t mean that you can never have another donut or French fry but it does mean that you need to be sensible.

This is no longer guesswork, either. The link between insulin resistance and Alzheimer’s has now been researched thoroughly and the evidence is so strong that Alzheimer’s is actually being referred to in official circles as Type-3 diabetes. It’s no joke and it’s not supposition; a chronically bad diet doesn’t just make you fat and sick, it can give you Alzheimer’s, too. Check out our article here to learn more about this.

Eat your Fruits and Veggies

Not only do fruits and vegetables fill you up and provide essential nutrients, they’re also packed with anti-oxidants that neutralize free radicals that cause oxidative stress and cell damage that can lead to Alzheimers. Your diet should consist of a wide variety of colors because each hue offers different vitamins and antioxidants. Remember that fruit is high in sugar so eating the raw fruit is better for blood sugar levels than drinking the juice because the fiber slows absorption.

Eating 4-6 small, fiber-rich meals per day helps maintain stable blood glucose levels better than eating 2 or 3 larger meals.

Eat Your Omega-3’s

We simply can’t say this enough – omega-3 fatty acids are called “essential” for a reason. Research shows that omega-3’s, particularly DHA, slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice. Other research indicates that they may actually help prevent it altogether by lowering levels of beta-amyloid protein, the protein that replaces normal brain cells in Alzheimer’s patients. DHA is a huge component of your brain and has been strongly linked to memory, reasoning and other cognitive functions. Just eat it!

Your best sources are cold water, fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel but you can also successfully supplement with it. Go for the ones that are enterically coated to avoid the fishy aftertaste. Also, get the kind that’s been purified in order to avoid the mercury inherent to many fish. Here’s a good link to affordable, effective omega-3 supplements that supply DHA.

Exercise Regularly

Participating in daily physical exercise can decrease your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 50% according to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation. Shoot for at least 3 sessions per week of cardio and strength training and do your best to get out and get active on days that you’re not scheduling “exercise”. Even walking the dog or gardening count and the bonus for outdoor activities is that you’re getting your brain-healthy vitamin D, too.

De-Stress and Get Plenty of Sleep

Stress and anxiety, even good types of stress, cause your body to release chemicals and hormones that can do all kinds of damage to your brain over the years. In stressful situations, your blood glucose raises in order to create energy and that can lead to insulin resistance if your stress is chronic. Whether you like to meditate, do yoga, garden or read a book, find ways to unwind and relieve stress.

Get Plenty of Quality Sleep

Sleep is when your body heals and recharges. If you’re not getting enough sleep then you’re increasing your odds of developing age-related dementia or Alzheimer’s in several ways. If your body isn’t getting enough rest, your blood glucose levels aren’t going to be stable and your stress responses are going to be out of whack. Also, levels of amyloid protein, the one that’s directly linked to the plaque in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, increases when you’re awake and decreases when you sleep.

Exercise Your Brain

Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs to be used to stay healthy. Studies prove that people who do puzzles, have active social lives, take continuing education courses, read and Google cool facts have a much lower risk of developing age-related dementia and Alzheimer’s than people who don’t.

The bottom line is that as we learn more about how our brains and our bodies work, the more we understand just how vital proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and relaxation are to health. Now that there’s a positive link between insulin levels and one of the most feared diseases on the planet, Alzheimer’s, diet is even more important. Put down the donut and pick up a bowl of oatmeal before you head to the gym or to play golf. Your brain will thank you for it in a few decades!

If you have anything that you’d like to add, please feel free to do so in the comments section below!

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