Healthy Living and Alzheimer’s Prevention

Living a healthy lifestyle is important for people of all ages. But for people with Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia, healthy living could be life-changing. Recent studies indicate that leading a brain-healthy lifestyle could actually help improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and slow down the process of deterioration. Here are a few ideas for brain healthy living.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is an important part ensuring a healthy mind.  When engaged in cardiovascular activity, the heart rate is elevated, increasing blood flow to the brain and body. The increased blood flow provides additional nourishment to the body and brain and reduces the potential for high blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol. Here’s an idea on how to get moving and talking with your loved one.

Take a walk with your loved one and let your surroundings inspire the conversation.  Talk about the cars you see around you and have them tell you about their first car. What make, model and color was it? Where was their favorite place to go in it?

Mental Activity

Research shows that altered connections among brain cells may be the cause of mental decline. But keeping the brain active can improve brain cell connections and possibly generate new cells. Here are a few ways to help keep a mind active.

Brain Games are a great, fun way to keep your loved one’s mind on it’s toes. Take a shot at the Brain Game to the left (find the answer at the bottom of the page).

Ted Talks offers thousands of short talks by speakers on just about any topic. These 20 minute or less talks and stories offer inspiration and information that gets the brain thinking.

Just Play a game! Things like a fun game of Gin Rummy to building words with a game of scrabble, gaming is a fun and easy way to keep the brain active.


Brain Healthy Diets

Good nutrition is vital for healthy aging. eating vitamin enriched foods boosts immunity, fights illness-causing toxins and its known to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke bone loss, some cancers, and anemia. Various fruits, leafy greens, fish, and nuts are packed with omega-3 fatty acids that increase focus and recuse the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are a couple of good options for brain healthy diets.

USDA Food Patterns: Suggests that people 50 or over choose healthy foods daily from the following:
a. Fruits—1-1/2 to 2-1/2 cups
b. Vegetables—2 to 3-1/2 cups
c. Grains—5 to 10 ounces
d. Protein foods—5 to 7 ounces
e. Dairy foods—3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk
f. Oils—5 to 8 teaspoons
g. Solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS)—keep the amount of SoFAS small

The Dash Diet: The Dash Diet has shown to lower high blood pressure and improve blood lipid levels which can lessen the risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The Dash Diet consists of:
a. Whole grains: 6 to 8 servings a day
b. Vegetables: 4 to 5 servings a day
c. Fruits: 4 to 5 servings a day
d. Low-fat or nonfat dairy: 2 to 3 servings a day
e. Lean meat, poultry, and fish: 2 to 3 servings a day
f. Nuts, seeds, and legumes: 4 to 5 servings a week
g. Healthy fats and oils: 2 to 3 servings a day
h. Sweets: 5 or less a week

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