Can Some Lifestyle Choices Delay Alzheimer’s?Alzheimer's, Dementia & Memory Care | June 18, 2015
As of today, there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, researchers and scientists are exploring the link between people’s choices regarding their lifestyle and Alzheimer’s disease to determine whether there are certain factors that can help delay cognitive decline.
Researchers are not only looking for a cure for Alzheimer’s, but also focusing on treatment and prevention strategies. Through a variety of studies, they’ve found that it may be possible to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by making healthy lifestyle choices.
Alzheimer’s Prevention through a Healthy Lifestyle
Studies have determined that leading a healthy lifestyle may directly help prevent or delay cognitive decline. It’s important to try to make brain-healthy choices, rather than trying to “fix” a brain after the damage has already been done.
Some of the best lifestyle choices to focus on that can help protect your brain include:
- Add physical exercise to your daily routine. When you exercise, your brain cells become stimulated and your body produces endorphins, which can help improve your focus and your mood. If you’re already experiencing cognitive issues, regular exercise can help slow further deterioration.
- Stimulate your brain often. Practice mental exercises like memorizing lists or challenging your brain to learn something new. Activities involving organization or multiple tasks, or even just completing a crossword puzzle or number game like Sudoku can provide a great mental workout.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Quality sleep improves your ability to problem solve, as well as how you process, store and recall information. Ongoing sleep deprivation can increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease, as deep sleep is critical for memory formation and retention.
- Eat nutritious foods. There are compounds in certain foods that can aid in Alzheimer’s prevention. Like your body, your brain needs healthy foods to function at its best. Get plenty of fresh veggies, lean meats and healthy fats into your diet. And don’t forget to drink plenty of water! Dehydration has been known to cause confusion and fatigue, leading to more memory issues.
- If you smoke, quit. If you’re over the age of 65, smoking can increase your chances for Alzheimer’s by up to 79%. When people quit smoking, the brain benefits from improved circulation almost immediately.
- Manage your stress levels. Lowering the stress in your life can help lower inflammation in the body. A key memory area of the brain, the hippocampus, can shrink when you are under a heavy amount of stress, thus increasing your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Make relaxation a daily priority, whether it’s taking a walk, reading a good book or taking a yoga class.
- Be active socially. An active social life means you’re connected to people around you, and the more connected we are, the better our memory and cognition can become. Keep your support system strong and continue to build and grow the relationships in your life.
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