Whatever may be the age, the following are seven ways to be taken to improve your brain reserves, and thus protect your memory in Alzheimer’s disease. By leading a brain-healthy lifestyle, your brain will become healthier, and keep functioning stronger and longer.
1. The practice of a regular exercise
What are the benefits of exercise? This helps in reducing stress, enhances mood, boosts up memory, and stimulates energy. According to the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is reduced by 50% by physical exercise. The practice of a regular exercise especially in those who already have developed cognitive problems, can slow down further decline. A practice of aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes, five times in one week is ideal. Try exercises such as walking, jogging, or any other physical activity which can increase your heart rate. Climb up the stairs instead of going up in a lift, lift up your own grocery items, or walk around the building block while chatting on your cell phone. Muscle building is necessary to increase blood circulation in your brain. Apart from increasing muscle mass, moderate levels of weight and resistance training help you in the maintenance of brain health too. Try to include balance and coordination exercises, as these will make you stay alert and responsive.
2. Protect your head from any sort of injury
Studies have reported that, your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease is significantly increased by head trauma at any point in life. This involves repetitive hits while playing certain games like, football, boxing, etc., Or following any type of injury resulting from a motor vehicle accident. Avoid activities which interfere with your attention, such as chatting on your cell while driving; because distraction even for a second, can result in a brain-damaging thud!
3. Consumption of a brain-healthy diet
Similar to the other parts of your body, a nutritious diet is required by your brain too, to function at its best. Consume plenty of protective antioxidants and vitamins, which are present abundantly in fresh fruits and green leafy vegetables. A regular consumption of green tea may slow down brain aging, and thus improve memory and mental alertness. Some supplements, rich in folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, vitamin E, magnesium, and fish oil are reported to preserve and enhance brain health in Alzheimer’s disease. As hypertension and hypercholesterolemia seem to be injurious to memory, less intake of salt in diet, and general nutrients which contribute to low cholesterol and normal blood pressure is recommended. Cutting down the quantity of food consumed, almost in half; or even occasional fasting is good. Consumption of 4-6 small meals during the day, instead of 3 large meals is ideal. This helps to maintain constant blood glucose levels. Addition of turmeric is found to help to activate genes which keep your brain clear, and protects it from inflammation. Improve your omega-3 intake, which is found to halt memory loss.
What are the things to be avoided to protect your brain?: Avoid refined carbohydrates and white flour, which are high in sugar and rapidly hike up glucose levels and cause brain inflammation. Cessation of smoking and heavy consumption of alcohol, which are two major risk factors, is recommended. Smoking increases the susceptibility for the elderly, especially over 65 by nearly 79%, and researchers reported that a lifestyle modification with a combination of these two personal habits reduces the age of onset of brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease by six to seven years.
4. Stimulation of mental alertness
Consistent mental stimulation, gaining knowledge about new things, working out puzzles and Brain teasers, testing oneself mentally in various ways through mental calculation of totals in one’s mind during buying grocery items in the shop; are all a few helpful ways to keep the brain active as well as in good shape. Practise the five W’s, in your daily experiences; which include, “What, Why, When, Where, and Who”. Trying to find out these details keeps your nerves firing in Alzheimer’s disease.
5. A peaceful, sound sleep
In order to function at optimum capacity, your brain needs at least eight hours of undisturbed sleep. In fact, sleep deprivation not only leaves you irritable and fatigued, but also impairs your thinking capability to solve problems, and also to store, and remember information. Deep and dreamy sleep is dangerous for retention of your memory. Hence a regular, restful sleep is highly recommended to prevent brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Management of stress
Stress may it be acute or chronic, has a great impact on the brain, and leads to decline in a fundamental memory area of the brain, which is called the hippocampus. This in turn hinders growth of nerve cells, thus resulting in brain damage in Alzheimer’s disease. Your respiration rate is altered by stress, and affects oxygen levels in the brain. A regular practice of a deep, abdominal breathing, will help to overcome your stress. Similarly, following some relaxation activities daily will help in the long run, may it be practice of yoga; or playing an instrument or going for a walk; of reading a story book or magazine. Most scientists believe that a strong mind is closely related with a strong body. A better brain health is found to be associated with spirituality. Hence, a regular practice of meditation, prayer can protect you against the injurious effects of stress in Alzheimer’s disease.
7. Last but not the least, maintenance of an active social life
In general, human beings are highly community-oriented beings. We hardly like to remain isolated, and neither do our brains. Studies have reported that the more socially active we are, the better we can protect our memory in Alzheimer’s disease. With increasing age, we often become more isolated. But still one can develop new relationships by volunteering and joining a local club, or association; taking a class at a nearby community college; etc. In fact a few minutes of sharing really with some of your friends or relatives can strengthen your bonds.