A major conference on Alzheimer’s research was held recently. Dr. Gayatri Devi, a lead researcher, spoke on CBS Morning TV about the findings. She said exercise, a healthy diet and work outside the home can improve brain health, regardless of your genetics.
For me this was very good news as my Dad suffered from Alzheimer’s. Because of his illness I’ve worked carefully to create a lifestyle that will lower my risk of developing the disease. Now hearing that research supports the notion that lifestyle does make a difference is very encouraging to me.
What Constitutes Exercise?
To be more specific, Dr. Gatri defined exercise as a minimum of 2 1/2 hours per week, eating either the Mediterranean or Japanese style diet, and in younger years employment or some form of stimulation outside the home that works different areas of the brain, creating more nerve paths and neurons.
For most of us, exercising for 2 1/2 hours a week is easily attainable. It’s only 150 minutes. Divided into 5 days that is only 30 minutes per day. It can be walking, running, dancing, playing a sport - anything that gets your heart rate up. Thus makes sense since getting your heart rate up improves circulation, and the brain needs good clear blood vessels to function well.
How about the Food?
The food part gets a little trickier, but it doesn’t need to be. Stop buying processed foods (that includes chips, nachos, cookies, crackers, packaged meals, etc) and buy real food that you prepare yourself. If you need help with recipes, go to my website where you’ll find many quick to prepare delicious dishes, or purchase my book for all the details on stocking a kitchen and sections on menus and recipes.
How to Build Those Synapses?
And finally, on the topic of brain stimulation, Dr. Gatri advises we pursue new topics, do brain exercises and take on new challenges in the workplace. I would also add experiences that combine thinking with the first two topics - exercise and food. For instance, learning a new sport, or doing a dance routine or a series of floor exercises would work the brsin and body together. Learning and preparing new recipes would do the same.
Alzheimer’s is a disease no one wants to get. Start early with these three practices and be proactive in preventing this disease and increasing the overall quality of your life. What are some things you do now, and what would you add to the list?