We all can now know we can do a lot to help keep our brain healthier as we age. These steps will help keep your brain fit and also reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
1) Mental Stimulation
Think of the brain like a muscle. The phrase “use it or lose it” if you don’t exercise, seems to apply to brain as well. Research from several large studies is showing that mental stimulation or “brain challenges” makes it less vulnerable to lesions that impair the brains of Alzheimer’s patients.
Studies have also shown that those that participate in mental stimulation on a regular basis develop a sort of “reserve capacity” that allows them to stay mentally sharp even though their brains showed signs of disease.
2) Diet and Weight Management
While family history and genetics are thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s, factors that can be controlled by diet, including high cholesterol and high blood pressure, have also been found to increase the risk for developing Alzheimer’s.
One study showed a strong correlation between the total energy and total fat intake being a risk factor, while eating cereals or grains and fish were the primary risk reduction factors.
3) Antioxidants and Supplements
Those who consumed high amounts of vitamins C and E had a 20-40% risk reduction for AD.
A prospective cohort study in Rotterdam found that high consumption of vitamins C and E reduced the risk of AD by 20 to 40%, with the most pronounced benefit found for smokers. Antioxidants are, of course, useful in reducing the risk of a large number of degenerative disease.
Folic acid, a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables, greens, liver, kidney, whole grains and nuts, is important in the development of the central nervous system and in the maintenance of blood vessels. Women who have low levels of folate, the by-product of folic acid found in the blood, appear to be at greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Vitamins and supplements are important. Not those body building supplements, or sexual enhancement supplements, or prohormone supplements, no.
Extracts of Ginkgo Biloba may slightly improve Alzheimer’s disease symptoms. Patients who received between 120 and 240 milligrams of Ginkgo Biloba extract per day for 3 to 6 months registered a 3% increase in Alzheimer Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive subtest scores compared with those taking a placebo.
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