Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most frightening, yet least understood ailments we face as human beings.
The loss of memory – forgetting family, friends and the most important events of our lives — is painful, tragic and heartbreaking for anyone who is close to the person suffering from the disease.
But Alzheimer’s doesn’t just arrive one day, full blown. It begins its insidious work long before the patient has a hint of what’s happening.
Research suggests Alzheimer’s disease starts in your brain decades before you experience any symptoms.
The good news is you can find out what’s happening in your brain and, while there is no known cure for Alzheimer’s, there are things you can do to better care for your brain.
There are steps that anyone can take to keep their brains healthy long before Alzheimer’s becomes a concern. Those include the following:
- Maintaining a proper diet. People who focus on healthy eating often are worried about their waistline, but the brain also benefits from or is harmed by what’s on the menu. Too many Americans sustain themselves on a diet filled with sugar and processed foods, which are associated with dementia and depression, Amen says. For a healthier mind, he says, there are “super foods” that nourish the brain such as various fruits, vegetables, fish and nuts.
- Avoiding too much alcohol and tobacco. Heavy alcohol and tobacco use lowers blood flow to the brain and reduces the ability to think over time.
- Exercising the brain. Activities such as dancing, tennis or table tennis (which Amen calls the world’s best brain sport) boost your coordination. Mindful exercises like yoga and Tai Chi reduce anxiety, depression and increase focus.
In spite of the natural process of aging, you actually have a choice in how fast your brain ages. What you choose to do — in other words, your behavior and habits — can speed up or slow down the rate at which your brain declines with age.
For more information, contact Spring Arbor.