Though there is no treatment regimen that has been discovered yet that will prevent Alzheimer’s disease, lifestyle choices that you make can make a big difference in your risk of developing the condition. Researchers are discovering that certain healthy habits and lifestyle changes can help you reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s. While there are no guarantees, researchers believe that by concentrating on the following areas, you just might give yourself a leg up on the difficult illness:
- Eat Smart: Sticking to a healthy, low-fat diet has been linked to Alzheimer’s prevention. A Harvard study of 13,000 women, age 70 and older, found that those who ate the most vegetables, especially green leafy ones (spinach and romaine lettuce) and cruciferous ones (broccoli and cauliflower) experienced a slower rate of cognitive decline than those who ate the fewest vegetables. Turmeric, a traditional Indian yellow spice used in curry, also shows promise in Alzheimer’s prevention. A diet loaded with heart-healthy foods may also help stave off disease.
- Get Moving: Simply by getting up off the couch and going for a walk may help prevent dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that as little as six months of regular exercise produced improvement in memory and cognitive function in a group of older adults. A different study found that working out three or more times per week decreased the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia by 35%.
- Maintain a Healthy Weight: Obesity during midlife seems to raise the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in the later years. A study done in 2008 found that those who were 30 or more pounds overweight and accumulated lots of belly far in their 40s were about 4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s decades later. Dropping weight during midlife, especially in the belly, can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Stay Mentally Active: Your brain also needs to get some exercise besides your body and it is one of the easiest ways to help prevent Alzheimer’s. Researchers at Rush University’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center found that seniors who stayed mentally active by reading, doing crossword puzzles, and taking classes were more than twice as likely to stay free from Alzheimer’s disease in comparison to less mentally active people. Other studies have shown similar results. So after you exercise your body, be sure to exercise your mind!