The fear of losing your memory to Alzheimer’s disease is a common part of aging. Although the disease has no cure, there are preventive techniques to slow the deterioration of the hippocampus and other affected areas of the brain. It’s even possible to stimulate new growth, reports Majid Fotuhi, a neurologist trained at Harvard. Ongoing studies suggest the possibility of lifestyle, health and diet choices protecting the brain and reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, according to the National Institute on Aging.
A sedentary lifestyle is linked to Alzheimer’s risk, points out the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation. Exercise lowers blood pressure, improves heart function and increases the flow of blood to the brain. It stimulates old brain connections and creates new ones. Studies link older people taking moderate exercise such as walking with improved brain function and memory.
Intellectual stimulation such as puzzles, games and memory exercises often improve cognitive health. Other mentally stimulating activities include reading, attending lectures, listening to the radio and visiting museums. Isolation is counterproductive, but engaging with others through day-to-day living, work, volunteer activities and recreation is beneficial.
Sometimes stress exacerbates memory loss. Engaging in mind-relaxing meditation slows deterioration and improves memory by easing anxiety.
Some studies connect heavy smoking with Alzheimer’s risk, points out WebMD. However, former smokers do not have increased risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia, so it is worthwhile for smokers to quit.
Studies link obesity in middle age to Alzheimer’s risk in old age. Being overweight leads to other high-risk conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
Studies show that brain health is associated with eating healthy foods such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It is equally important to avoid saturated fats and refined carbohydrates such as white sugar. Broccoli and green leafy vegetables may slow cognitive decline. A Mediterranean diet rich in fish, olive oil, legumes, cereals and fruit is especially beneficial.
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Omega 3 Fatty Acids
Omega 3 fatty acids, found abundantly in trout, salmon and other fish, may reduce abnormal protein deposits in the brain called plaque, which are major components of Alzheimer’s.
Red grapes contain a substance called resveratrol that studies indicate may reduce harmful deposits and help protect the brain. Consuming moderate amounts of red wine may lower Alzheimer’s risk.Whizzco