If it’s good for your heart, then it’s good for your brain
June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, so I couldn’t think of a better time to discuss how to avoid this horrible disease that affects the mind.
Alzheimer’s is now the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and it’s projected that the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s will triple in the next 40 years – 13.8 million people by 2050 (source).
While researchers are continually trying to find a cure, many people can’t – and shouldn’t – wait. In fact, many studies are currently focusing on prevention strategies.
Here are some ways you can start now – at any age – to avoid Alzheimer’s:
- Regular exercise – even walking at a brisk pace counts. Try to get in 40 minutes, 3 days per week. Just make sure you get your heart rate up, casually strolling the mall won’t do it.
- Healthy diet – your mother wasn’t just speaking to hear her voice, you should eat more fruits and veggies. Also try to eat more foods with vitamin E, like almonds, spinach, kale, avocado, papaya, broccoli and olives. Consider adding some salmon to your regular meal plan – and other omega-3 fatty acids.
- Get a good night’s sleep – did you know that insomnia and sleep apnea can contribute to memory problems? Preliminary studies have also linked both with Alzheimer’s.
- Keep your brain active – mental stimulation is vital. Consider keeping or forming new hobbies, read, participate in activities, take a class, or anything you enjoy that will keep your brain busy.
- Manage stress – when you get stressed, your blood pressure rises. And, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, “in 2013, investigators showed that older people with high blood pressure, or hypertension, were more likely to have biomarkers of Alzheimer’s in their spinal fluid.”
- Visit your doctor regularly – by getting routine check-ups, you’re likely to catch when something is wrong. Make sure your blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are all in line. 80% of people who have Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease.
- Get some sun – insufficient vitamin D levels have been linked to Alzheimer’s. So get outside for a few minutes and soak in some rays. But remember if you’re going to be out for more than a few minutes to protect your skin with safe sunscreen!
- Stay educated – be aware of the signs of early Alzheimer’s and know what to look for. The Alzheimer’s Association is a great resource.
Notice how the steps to avoid Alzheimer’s are similar to the steps to live a healthy lifestyle? No, it’s not always easy, but it’s worth it. That’s why I love being a health coach and helping people change their lives for the better.
If you’d like to work with me to clean your health, check out my programs and contact me today.