As we grow into old age, the gradual effects of poor diet and lifestyle begin to catch up on us, causing a multitude of issues which significantly affect our daily life. Alzheimer’s disease, a chronic neurodegenerative disease that results in impaired memory, thinking and behaviour, is one of the most significant concerns of growing older. Whilst the disease can’t be cured, promising research demonstrates that it is possible to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and even slow down the process, through a range of simple, yet effective lifestyle changes. By taking effective steps to preserve your cognitive abilities and leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, you may be able to slow down and prevent the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. So, why not start now?
You have probably heard countless times that exercise is physically good for you, but did you know that an effective method to potentially eradicate any possible symptoms of Alzheimer’s is physical exercise? According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, regular exercise can reduce your risk of the disease by up to 50%. Not only does exercise reduce the ostensible risk of Alzheimer’s, it can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive issues. These benefits can be attributed to exercise leading to a boost in size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that works on verbal memory and learning. As such, aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per day, such as a combination of cardio and strength training lie walking and swimming, and balance exercises such as yoga and Tai Chi. The advantages are endless, so lace up your sneakers and get moving! Your future self will thank you.
As anybody who’s struggled throughout the day on not enough sleep can agree on, a lack of rest won’t oil your mental engine. In fact, sleep deprivation can confer long-term major effects possibly leading to Alzheimer’s disease. An increasing number of studies have linked poor sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that in turn further interferes with sleep, especially with the deep sleep necessary for memory formation. Establishing a regular sleep schedule will reinforce your natural circadian rhythms, allowing you to have a good night’s rest. Additionally, taking measures such as eliminating technology and stopping the consumption of food one hour before bed will assist your body and brain with preparing to sleep, allowing you to have the right amount of sleep for your brain to healthily function.
Whilst a nourishing diet is generally sought after for a healthy physique and skin, it’s also essential for a well-functioning brain. Multiple studies have demonstrated a correlation between a diet high in refined sugars and impaired brain function. Through Alzheimer’s disease, inflammation and insulin resistance injure neutrons and inhibit communication between brain cells. Ultimately, by modifying your eating habits, you can decrease inflammation and protect your brain from damaging free radicals. To attain a healthy, functioning brain for the long-term, make sure to regularly eat plenty of fruits and vegetables containing nourishing vitamins and antioxidants such as leafy green vegetables, berries and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli. If your body isn’t properly digesting effective nutrients present within your food, come in store and talk to our friendly pharmacists about supplements that may assist with receiving all the vitamins and minerals your body and brain requires, including folic acid, Vitamin B12, magnesium and fish oil.
Those who constantly challenge their brain and learn new things throughout their life are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Set aside time each day to simulate your brain, such as taking part in strategy games, puzzles or riddles such as Sudoku, building your capacity to form and treat cognitive associations. It’s even a great excuse for a little down time!
Stress is inevitable. Many years ago, our ancestors depended upon our stress response to predominately keep us vigilant and alive, with the principal aim of warding off animal predators. Whilst there’s no genuine threat of being eaten alive by a dinosaur anytime soon, our stress responses have escalated due to the busy nature of our routine and day-to-day working lives. Stress can take a heavy toll on the brain, leading to a shrinkage in a central memory area, hampering nerve cell growth and increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. However, do not fret! Effective stress management can minimise its damaging effects. Activities such as daily mediation and reflection may safeguard you against the harmful effects of stress. Even just a simple walk in the park, practicing yoga or taking a soothing bath contribute towards a limitation of stress. Maybe even pop into Baggas and treat yourself with a sweet-smelling candle, or some restoring essential oils!