Alzheimer’s disease is a prevalent and terrifying disease. Much research and money has been dedicated to figuring out the cause for Alzheimer’s, as well as a cure for it. While you can find a lot of information out there on how to prevent Alzheimer’s, the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation suggests the Four Pillars of Alzheimer’s Prevention. These are four different areas to focus on to help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s in you or a loved one.
- Diet and Supplements – paying attention to what you put into your body is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Your diet is critical to your brain’s health. One of the best things you can do is eat a diet high in Vitamins C and E, eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and eat foods high in omega-3 oils. A good amount of your diet should come from healthy fats, such as avocados, coconut oil, olive oil, and flaxseed oil. Make sure you incorporate some brain superfoods into your diet, which are blueberries, spinach, and seaweed. It’s also important to take good vitamins and supplements, such as Vitamin C and folic acid. Some other good supplements for brain health are coenzyme Q10, alpha lipoic acid, ginkgo biloba, phosphatidylserine, Omega-3’s, and acetyl-L-carnitine.
- Stress Management – One of the best things you can do for stress management and your brain health is meditation. Meditation reduces stress, which reduces cortisol levels and improves mental functioning. Meditation can improve your health and reduce memory loss. Some other options for stress management are deep breathing, hypnosis, prayer, and massage. Instead of sticking with one of these, it’s helpful to explore them all and figure out what works best for you and reduces your stress the most.
- Exercise and brain aerobics – doing regular physical exercise can reduce your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. Exercising regularly can keep your brain at optimal health. They say about 150 minutes of exercise per week is a good number. This should include a mix of cardio and strength training. Though current research suggests that cardio exercise is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Some ways to get this exercise in are walking, running, swimming, playing tennis, or riding a bike. Strength training involves using weights to increase strength through repetitive lifting. Exercise is not only physical, however. Brain aerobics are important also. Some neurologists suggest that mental exercises can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 70%! Mental exercises involve challenging your brain with something new or different. The exercise needs to engage your attention, involve two or more of your senses, and break your typical routine. Some examples are reading, writing, crossword puzzles, and board games.
- Spiritual fitness – This involves improving your spiritual or cognitive well-being. This means being with people who share similar interests or ideas as you, being able to accept yourself as you are, not giving into shame, being vulnerable and willing to forgive self and others, and feeling compassion and empathy for self and others. One of the ways to increase spiritual fitness is to volunteer for something you feel is important, being in a community of some sort, and having purpose or meaning in each day.
There is much about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia that we don’t yet understand. Because of this uncertainty and the lack of a viable cure, the best thing we can do is take actions now to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from knocking at our door. This involves taking care of ourselves in the way we eat, the way we care for ourselves in hard times, and how we move our body. This is our best bet against the disease.