Brain Health & Alzheimers: The word Alzheimer’s is a scary word to most people. Dr. Mark Hyman says: “By the year 2050, the United States will have 14 million people in need of full-time care for Alzheimer’s disease, a number equal to the populations of New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago combined.” So, brain health should be at the top of everyone’s list.
Why is brain health important? An estimated 5.5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease now. Two thirds of them are women. African Americans are twice as likely to get it, and Hispanics are about 1 1/2 times as likely to have Alzheimer’s or other dementia as caucasians. These stats do not make for a pretty picture. So, it is critical that each one of us does everything possible now, to take care of our brain. Evidence is showing that changes you make now, can have a major impact on what happens to your brain later in life. By adopting healthy habits to support your brain now, you will know your name when you are in your 70’s….no joke.
Here are some healthy habits to consider adopting:
Brain Food For Wellness:
It’s widely known now, that chronic inflammation is the starting point of many diseases. This includes Alzheimers and other dementias. Fortunately, we have control over whether our inflammation rages, or is quieted. Things that increase inflammation are high sugar intake, vegetable oils, processed foods, mainstream manufactured meats, poultry and farmed fish. Eating real, whole, nutrient dense foods, grass-fed meats, and fresh ocean caught fatty fish, like salmon, and mackerel, along with organic fruits, especially berries, and organic dark green leafy veggies loaded with antioxidants, will lower inflammation while supporting the bacteria balance in the gut.
Know that, what you put in your mouth, affects your gut,
and in turn the wellness of your brain!
Some other habits to consider is smoking cigarettes, hydration and drinking alcohol. The brain is about 73% water, so getting sufficient non-caffeine liquids throughout the day is essential. Green tea and oolong tea are great brain choices. Just remember for every glass of caffeine liquid you drink, you need to have additional water to make up for the water loss from the caffeine. Drinking alcohol, can be fun! If it’s done in moderation and not every day. As far as cigarettes are concerned…stop it!
Brain Health Nutrient Champions:
There are some nutrients that are important for the brain, and we tend not to get sufficient amounts of them in our diet. Taking these nutritional supplements will provide some insurance, that you will get the amounts you need to fend off cognitive decline. The biggie here is Omega 3 fatty acids, which has 2 components, epa and dha. You need both of them, but dha is the more important fat for cognition. Other important nutrients are vitamin D, which 90% of the population is low in, B12, methyl folate, magnesium, coenzyme Q 10, and alpha lipoic acid. There are intracellular blood tests that can measure levels of these in your cells, along with other nutrients in order to develop a personalized plan. Connect with me to find out more about this. If a level of cognitive decline is already happening, there are additional nutrients that can be added to slow it down.
Get your sleep on:
If you haven’t read anything about the importance of sleep to your health and wellness, then you must be living under a rock! Sleep is no longer a luxury; it is a must! This is the time is when your brain restores itself, along with the immune system. During the night, your brain flushes out toxins by way of it’s own lymphatic system. This can only happens when you are asleep! So, missing sleep leads to a build up of toxins in the brain cells. And night after night of this leads to cells living in a toxic mess, suffocating and dying, which eventually leads to lower cognition. Be sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.
Move, Move, Move…your body!:
This does not mean you have to go to the gym; you can do whatever you find fun, relaxing, or exciting, as long as you get your whole body moving. There is plenty of new research to impress upon us, exactly how important movement is, not only to just about every organ in our body, but to the brain! Movement of any kind: pilates, jogging, walking, dancing, biking, playing sports, you choose what you like to do as long as you are moving. Movement is essential for a healthy brain; it improves blood flow and metabolism, increases insulin sensitivity, challenges our engagement, and can actually improve brain structure and function, even in the aging population
The Alzheimers Research and Prevention Association says that regular exercise may cut the risk of developing dementia in half. Movement has been shown to improve memory and recall. I’m sure we can all agree, we want as few senior moments as possible!
If your day job is sitting for long periods, set an alarm to get up and move for ten minutes every 2 hours or so. Walk and get water, take a stroll around the office, go out and get some fresh air. Listen to a few songs on your phone while moving. Get moving and thank your brain for doing a great job!
Stress is extremely harmful to the body and can hurt your brain. Stress hormones damage the memory center in the brain, causing memory loss and dementia.
The good news, though, is that there is much you can do to stop these negative impacts on the brain.
Create space for downtime
Reduce all the busy work that’s become so standard day in and day out. Go for a
- Walk outside,
- Meditate, or
- Drink some tea
- Listen to Music
- Take a ride in the country
Anything that helps you rest, relax, and unwind will help your brain stay healthy for the long haul. Memory loss may be an unavoidable part of aging. But there are actually many simple, and natural interventions, you can take right now to retain a sharp mind, no matter what your age.
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