Five Habits to Protect Your Brain and Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 40 million people globally. Science suggests that thedisease develops gradually over time. However, the disease is not an inevitable part of aging. Research offers hope for building a better brain as you age and preventing dementia. By adopting certain lifestyle changes, you can help protect your brain and reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers.
Here are five key habits to protect your brain:
- BE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE– Exercise helps activate brain plasticity (the brain’s ability to change its own structure as a result of experiences) and positive growth of connections in the brain while decreasing inflammation. Each week, you should aim for either 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as jogging, fast swimming or riding a bike up a hill.
- MOVE IT OR LOOSE IT– Learn new skills and keep your mind active.Research shows that engaging in mentally stimulating activities is an important element in strengthening cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s resilience and capacity to function even when there is damage to brain cells. Stimulating the brain on a regular basis boosts cognitive pathways between neurons and builds resiliency in brain function. Try to find something that you like doing that challenges your brain such as learning a new language, games and crossword puzzles.
- DEVELOP GOOD SLEEP HABITS – Getting regular, adequate sleep is necessary for good brain health. Without adequate sleep, humans experience cognitive deficits of many kinds, including attention issues and declines in the ability to learn and process information. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night.
- EAT A BALANCED HEALTHY, ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DIET– The food you eat can enhance brain function, prevent disease, and improve memory. Although each person is unique and has specific nutritional needs, eating a variety of healthy foods in their whole-food forms provides your body with essential nutrients that protect and nourish your brain.
- STOP SMOKING – Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body including the blood vessels in the brain. Smoking contributes to a higher risk of dementia and cognitive decline. Studiesshow that people who smoke are at a higher risk of developing all types of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.