Foods Fighting Forgetfulness
Foods Fighting Forgetfulness
Can an apple a day keep Alzheimer’s
away? Maybe not exactly…but it can’t hurt.
As cases of Alzheimer’s rise and the
level of care increases, more and more attention is turning to this disease.
Scientists are becoming more knowledgeable about its causes and how we might
According to research, a
brain-healthy diet is just one way to reduce the risk of getting Alzheimer’s.
Physical activity, too, plays a key role in the health of your brain. “But
I’m not doing push-ups with my brain,” you might say. But you’d be
surprised how much your mind benefits from a healthy body.
Let’s explore how eating right and
getting off the sofa might help you prevent or at least hold off onset of
According to the Alzheimer Research
and Prevention Foundation, diet is the first of that organization’s “4
Pillars of Prevention.” Things like lean protein, good fats (such as
avocados and flaxseed oil) and foods proven to improve brain function make up
an ideal diet for those looking to prevent Alzheimer’s.
These so-called superfoods include
blueberries, spinach, walnuts and kelp, which are among the foods rich in
antioxidants that fight damaging free radicals.
What’s else? Fish, fish and fish. The
University of Maryland Medical Center suggests eating fish rich with omega-3
fatty acids, such as salmon, up to three times per week for maximum health
The Center also suggests 6 – 8
glasses of water, preferably filtered, each day. Increasing your water intake
can help to flush out toxins in the body. Research led by Keele University in
the UK in 2012 showed that a liter of mineral water per day showed the
potential to prevent the mental decline linked to Alzheimer’s.
Dietary supplements that are thought
to help prevent memory loss and improve brain function include zinc, vitamin
B12 and folic acid. Omega-3 fatty acids can also be taken as supplements.
It’s easier than you might realize to
incorporate these foods into your diet. Toss a handful of blueberries into your
morning cereal or switch from white bread to whole-grain bread for your
sandwich. As for water, drink bottled water and collect the caps to keep track
of how much you’re consuming.
Going With the (Blood) Flow
While important, sitting around
eating the right foods is only part of the Alzheimer’s prevention puzzle. Just
as important is exercise.
Physical activity, which doesn’t have
to include time spent in the gym but can be something as simple as walking or
gardening, increases your blood flow. This would naturally result in improved
blood flow to the brain.
As reported by the Alzheimer
Association, aerobic exercise is best because it increases oxygen intake.
Increased oxygen to the brain is vital for brain health! The Association goes
on to say that aerobic exercise, such as walking or bicycling, has shown to
decrease the loss of brain cells in seniors.
And not just physical activity but
brain activity is important as well. Keeping your mind engaged and stimulated
can help prevent the disease from starting in the first place. Various studies,
including one conducted by the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute at the
University of California – Berkeley in 2012, have shown that higher mental
activity leads to a decrease in protein buildup in the brain. This buildup is
evident in Alzheimer’s patients.
Again, it won’t take a complete
lifestyle change to work more physical activity into your day. Taking the
stairs instead of the elevator or walking instead of driving a few blocks to
the store can go a long way toward becoming more active.
What’s more, this increased activity
might help shed any unwanted weight, which can decrease the chances of, among
other things, stroke and diabetes, both of which can be risk factors for
None of this, of course, is a
guarantee that you won’t get the disease. Genetics plays a role, as does other
factors such as previous head injuries.
But there are so many health benefits
to eating right and getting daily exercise that it’s something we should all be
doing anyway, especially as we advance in age. And if it turns out to be the
one-two punch needed to knock out Alzheimer’s, then you’ve enjoyed an added
About the author:
Felicity Dryer was originally board in Flagstaff, Arizona, and now lives in Los Angeles. She is a health and nutrition expert who also loves
tech and loves to encourage
others to achieve their personal goals.