Five life­style choices that re­duce your risk of Alzheimer’s

The Hamilton Spectator - - YOUNG AT HEART -

Did you know that there are only two risk fac­tors for Alzheimer’s dis­ease that we can­not con­trol? These are ge­net­ics and ag­ing, but other risk fac­tors can be re­duced by mak­ing the right life­style choices for your body and brain in or­der to age suc­cess­fully.

“While there’s no way to pre­vent Alzheimer’s dis­ease, a healthy brain is able to with­stand ill­ness,” ex­plains Holly Quinn, Chief Nurs­ing Of­fi­cer at Bayshore Health­Care, which pro­vides home and com­mu­nity health­care ser­vices and of­ten works with Alzheimer’s and de­men­tia pa­tients and care­givers.

Main­tain a healthy brain and re­duce your risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease with these sim­ple life­style choices:

1. Diet – A healthy diet is im­por­tant for your over­all body health, and es­pe­cially a healthy brain. Eat­ing nu­tri­tious food long-term also helps main­tain brain func­tion and slow mem­ory de­cline. Choose foods rich in omega-3 oils, whole grains, and fruits and veg­eta­bles of many dif­fer­ent colours.

2. Men­tal ex­er­cise – It’s im­por­tant that you ex­er­cise your brain and body on a daily ba­sis. Grow­ing ev­i­dence sug­gests that reg­u­lar men­tal stim­u­la­tion may help re­duce the risk of Alzheimer’s dis­ease by en­hanc­ing cog­ni­tive re­serve (the mind’s re­sis­tance to dam­age. Try puz­zles, play­ing chess, learn­ing a new hobby or mu­si­cal in­stru­ment (any­thing you en­joy that en­gages your brain can help cre­ate new men­tal path­ways or de­velop in­fre­quently used ones.

3. Phys­i­cal ex­er­cise – What’s good for your heart is also good for your brain. Ex­er­cise is great as it gets the blood mov­ing and keeps the heart and brain healthy through con­stant nourishment from in­creased cir­cu­la­tion. If pos­si­ble, aim for at least 30 min­utes of mod­er­ate phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity at least five times a week. 4. Quit smok­ing – Smok­ing is ex­tremely dan­ger­ous to your health and body, and your brain is no ex­cep­tion. Recre­ational drug use and ex­ces­sive al­co­hol con­sump­tion are also best avoided.

5. Man­age stress – It’s very im­por­tant to fix any un­der­ly­ing prob­lems that are caus­ing stress, as stress in­creases blood pres­sure and makes the heart beat faster. It also re­leases the stress hor­mone cor­ti­sol, pro­longed lev­els of which can have a neg­a­tive ef­fect on the body. Re­lax your body and mind by man­ag­ing stress with phys­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, breath­ing ex­er­cises, yoga or med­i­ta­tion.

Find more in­for­ma­tion at www.bayshore.ca. (NC)

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