(NC) 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.