The fact is we are not completely defenceless against Alzheimer’s disease. For this particular disease, however we don’t have the cure, but we have many ways to protect ourselves, based on thousands of researches around the world.
How? do one thing at a time! Add another challenge when you feel you are ready.
That is it, you are on your way to “Change your lifestyle to a better one”!
You can change it for good at anytime, but I recommend to start it as soon as possible, for yourself and your families!
How soon? really soon. Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder. It take 20-40 years for it to kill enough of your brain cells to show the symptoms, so start at 20? 40? even for your kids?
- Physical activity:
The research studies show that physical activity impacts brain physiology, increases blood circulation in the brain, provides brain cells with the optimum oxygen and nutrient and reestablishes some protective neuronal connections.
In one word, it helps your brain cells to establish a healthy environment by providing them with their needs, and taking away the waste materials that cells have been produced during metabolism. This could be what your brain cells need to live for a long period of time.
2. Mental activity:
This is one of the best thing you can do for your brain. Wake it up!
It’s been suggested that mental activity strongly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. How much? Up to 50% less. It seems you have pushed Alzheimer’s back to its cave just by making your brain more active.
You don’t necessary need to get your PhD to be a highly mentally active person, however the studies have shown the positive impact of education on decreasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Reading books, magazines, solving puzzles, playing chess, writing, playing mental games, learning to play a musical instrument or anything else that requires your brain to get involved in a challenge is considered a mental activity, but remember watching TV is not one of them!
Again, begin to have a challenging mental activity as soon as possible. From childhood, at 20, 30, 40, 50 60, sooner is better. Why?
Mental activity simply increases the brain circulation. It could then help your brain cells by providing them with a nice environment, enriched with oxygen and food. This efficient blood circulation quickly washes the undesirable byproduct of metabolism out of the brain before they get any chance to damage your brain cells. By challenging your brain cells when you are reading, for example, you encourage the brain cells to make better and stronger connections with each other. Stroger connection, means better communication, and that equals to better memory, better power of analysis and a better and longer life for your brain.
You don’t need to finish a book a day, or to play piano in a week, just a few minutes of brain challenge a day will do the job. Of course more is better, but start from little. Give your brain enough time to feel the joy of learning something, and believe me, this is what your brain loves!
Food simply is what makes your body. Brain in particular is a sensitive organ which is highly affected by what we eat. Having a right diet could decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 40-50%. A healthy habit of eating must be started as soon as possible, even from childhood, to protect the brain cell from damages that unhealthy foods can create. Oxidative damage to the brain cells is one of the dangers that comes from eating high level of processed and junk foods, however it is not limited to that. The nature of human body is not compatible with digesting a lot of sugar, too. 99% fat free foods are not solving any problem when they are loaded with sugars. Extra sugar will be eventually stored in your body as fat, so you do the math!
Eating healthy doesn’t mean starving or not enjoying the life. It’s all about making a right balance, and that requires paying attention to what we eat, make the right choice, and stick to that.
To make something as an eating habit, it takes a while. We don’t like the change, and our brain doesn’t accept the taste of broccoli as “delicious” when it has been used to eat salty chips for 30 years. For most of us, vegetables and sometimes fruits are not that much delicious. Hopefully we can train our next generation to think differently. But for us now, it takes practicing to get something anti Alzheimer to add to your diet.
4. Stress Management:
This one is very important, however we usually don’t pay enough attention to stress as the actual risk factor for many diseases.
Stress is an alarm, making us aware of what is unusual, and possibly dangerous in our environment. Evolutionary, we as human beings have developed the stress response mechanism by releasing a hormone called cortisol. The physiological role of this hormone is actually lifesaving. It makes sure that your body has enough backup resources of energy to face the situation, and to assist the other alarm system, the adrenaline one, to act properly.
So what is the problem with that?
The stress response is a requirement of survival for all creatures. What is dangerous for our body, and definitely for our brain cells, is a chronic stress. Modern life has brought us the most convenient ways of living, compared with 100 years ago, but there is a cost for it and that is the constant activation of that alarm system to keep on with all the sudden big change of almost everything around us that happens every day because of the fast speed of technology, and the expectation of this style of living from us.
The constant alarm is the chronic stress. That physically destroys connections between the brain cells in many critical areas such as hippocampus, the centre for memory. It was even shown that stress increases the level of toxic proteins that are found in Alzheimer’s disease. Well, we haven’t seen this is coming, have we?
Although chronic stress could be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, it seems a bit difficult to get rid of it as an inseparable part of our daily life. Our body loves making balance, for everything and about everything. This is an unconscious process even when we go for an extreme, consciously. This is the point of conflict and also the beginning of feeling stressed. Next time you catch yourself in a stressful situation, stop, take a deep breath and find the point of conflict. Do something about that extreme, because your unconscious balance rarely makes any mistake.