People dread going old because of the degenerative effects of age, not age itself. Alzheimer’s and dementia is the most dreaded trimming of achieving old age. In the US, 4 to 5 million people live with some form of dementia. In the UK, the number is at 850,000. In both continents across the Atlantic, those numbers are expected to rise.
What can you do to prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia? It’s not inevitable. The longer you’ve been doing the following, the lesser risk you have of getting degenerative cognitive disease.
The Five Golden Rules To Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia:
• Eat healthy.
• No heavy drinking.
• No smoking.
• Maintain a healthy weight and blood pressure.
The latter four rules above are no-brainers, pardon the pun. The verdict is not completely out on alcohol. It seems that small levels of alcohol, especially from red wine, have been proven to protect the brain by raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol. Smoking degenerates everything: from brain to skin. On the other hand, exercise improves everything. And of course, a healthy weight and circulation makes sure your body is functioning well in all areas–no pressure and blockages.
But the very first rule above, eating healthy for the brain–that’s the recently disclosed treasure.
The MIND Diet
To prevent Alzheimer’s and dementia, research has revealed the positive effects of the MIND diet.
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet is a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
Stick to it completely and you lower your risk of Alzheimer’s by 54%.
Stick to it only now and then and you STILL lower your rish of Alzheimer’s by 35%!
It does sound healthy: you avoid red meat, candy, sweets, pastries at less than four to five servings every week. Think of it as one serving of dessert every other day. Fried food is reduced to one serving a week. Cheese is at less than one serving a week. Butter and margarine? Less than a tablespoon daily.
What do you eat?
• Whole grains and green leafy vegetables. The biggest part of the diet. At least three and six servings every week, respectively.
• Olive oil: your main cooking oil and dressing
• At least one other vegetable every day.
• Wine: one half to one glass every day
• Berries, the only fruit in the diet; blueberries and strawberries score high on protecting and improving cognitive health
• Poultry: Two servings a week
• Fish: One serving a week
Vitamin D possibly reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
Going out in the sun is always good for you as long as you don’t cook yourself into acquiring skin cancer. The connection to Alzheimer’s is still “observational” rather than conclusive, but in 2014, Neurology published a large study where people with Vitamin D deficiency were two times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, compared to those with adequate levels of Vitamin D.
Vitamin D has already been proven beneficial against erectile dysfunction. It seems that vitamin D inhibits the production of free radicals which narrow blood vessels. In the same way, perhaps this contribution to circulatory health prevents Alzheimer’s.