Updated: Apr 26, 2019
Did you know that about 5 million people in America have Alzheimer's and the number is expected to increase to 13 million by 2050? Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia and it is thought to be caused by vascular disease and amyloid plaque deposits.
Impaired brain function looks like the following:
*difficulty focusing or completing tasks.
Later stages of Alzheimer disease can involve psychosis, agitation and aggression.
And we now know that changes in the brain start 30 years before symptoms arise- So if you plan to live beyond age 85, you have 50% chance of getting Alzheimer's.
But the good news is that you can help your brain and prevent dementia!
Here are some practical ways to feed your brain:
1. Participate in social activities. Yes, that means you introverts must make some effort and get out of your comfort zone. Join a book club, visit family and friends, or volunteer for a community cause. We need social connections to individuals and to groups.
2. Physical Activity A study showed that physically active adults had a 28% reduction in overall dementia and a 45% reduction in Alzheimer disease.
3. Practice Religion or Spirituality. It doesn't mean you have to go to church or belong to some organized religion. But believing in a higher power or synchronicity has been associated with a lower chance of dementia. If you haven't already, experiment with meditation.
4. Learn a New Language. Parlez-vous francais? Or hablas espanol? Learning a second language leads to better development of areas of the brain that handle executive function and attention tasks. One study showed that being bilingual delayed the onset of Alzheimer's by 4.5 yrs.
5. Cultivate creative hobbies. Immerse yourself in art or dancing, or learn to play a new instrument. These creative outlets are great opportunities for self expression and keep your brain challenged.
6. Mediterranean diet. With it's whole foods, healthy fats like olive oil, plenty of fruits and vegetables, and low amounts of red meat, the Mediterranean diet has great cardiovascular benefits and can slow down cognitive decline.
7. Blueberries. What's not to love about blueberries?
8. Flavonols. Eat a small piece of dark chocolate a day to treat your soul and brain!
9. Avocados. Although high in fat and calorie, it certainly gives the brain a boost. High in omega three fatty acids, phytonutrients like polyphenols and flavonoids, this superfood has quite the antioxidant effect.
10. Walnuts. They have the same characteristics of avocados. Plus, walnuts look just like brains! Can't be a coincidence, right?
11. Green Tea Researchers found that the green tea polyphenol epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) stops the formation of beta-amyloid plaques — a hallmark of Alzheimer disease— by interfering with the function of beta-amyloid oligomers.
Credit some content to Institute of Integrative Nutrition
For more information about Alzheimer's - https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures