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Holistic Alzheimer’s Disease Prevention Strategies You Can Start Today

 In General

By: Dharma Singh Khalsa, M.D.

For Alzheimer’s, prevention
is the best medicine. Unfortunately, there is no magic bullet to cure this
dreaded disease.

That’s why a holistic
Alzheimer’s disease prevention strategy involving mind, body, nutrition, and
stress — one that prevents cognitive decline and actually enhances mental
capacity — is an excellent option.

Your brain is as much flesh
and blood as the rest of your body. It is not some mysterious black box. When
well cared for, it retains its performance. When neglected, it decays.

A preventative lifestyle is
especially important, because the latest research shows that only 30% of
Alzheimer’s cases are genetic. The vast majority of cases — 70% — are
preventable.

When caring for the brain, just
like with the body, some choices have proven consequences. Poor nutrition hurts
your brain and your body. Chronic stress is also destructive. Finally, lack of
physical exercises also weakens both brain and body.

Alzheimer’s is a
multi-factor disease. Physical and mental exercise, nutrition, stress
management, and pharmaceuticals play important roles.

Your brain is full of cells
called neurons. Few things are more harmful to neurons than chronic stress.
Stress hormones are a natural response to release more energy when needed, but
with today’s constant stressors, stress hormones can stay at high levels in the
blood continuously.

In particular, high levels
of cortisol can block the uptake of blood sugar by neurons, causing them to die
— and increasing your chances of developing memory loss.
 

STRESS: Stress management
is very important, as there is a very high correlation between high
cholesterol, high blood pressure, high cortisol — and Alzheimer’s. Some proven techniques
for stress management include meditation, guided hypnosis, prayer, and massage.
There are many ways to lower stress, but what’s most important is that you use
them regularly.

EXERCISE: Exercise, both
physical and mental, can have a great impact on Alzheimer’s risk.
Cardiovascular exercise boosts blood flow. And more blood flow equals a
healthier brain. Regular physical exercise has been proven to reduce your risk
of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50%. A good place to start is making sure you
exercise three days a week.

Regular mental exercise has
been reported to reduce Alzheimer’s risk by 70%. Fortunately, brain aerobics
are easy. To be considered brain aerobics, an activity needs to engage your
attention, involve more than one sense, and break a routine activity in an
unexpected, nontrivial way. Everyone should partake in mental exercise as much
as physical exercise.

NUTRITION: Nutrition
affects your body, and so it affects your brain, too. The main idea is to avoid
foods that cause inflammation, such as red meat. It causes swelling that
releases free radicals and damages your neurons. However, the right proteins,
like frozen salmon, and a vast intake of vegetables and fruits (like
blueberries and spinach) can actually repair the damage and improve your memory.
Finally, folic acid and vitamins C and E can reduce your risk by 20% when taken
together.

PHARMACEUTICALS: Drugs at
the proper time can help restore memory loss. Several medications have shown
promise in partially restoring memory at different stages of Alzheimer’s.
Hormone replacement therapy can also be used to boost hormone levels when they
are low.

By using holistic
Alzheimer’s disease prevention strategies, you can benefit by boosting your
cognitive performance as well. By lowering stress, eating better, taking
regular physical and mental exercise, you can perform better now — and ward
off Alzheimer’s later.

 

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