Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Advancing age and genetic factors play a major role in the development of Alzheimer’s. Women in general, especially after menopause, are also at a greater risk of developing the disease when compared to men. Alzheimer’s disease has no known cure, but it is certainly possible to reduce your risk of getting it by making these lifestyle changes.
Regular exercise or physical activity provides many benefits by improving overall health. Exercise not only strengthens your muscles, but also improves your heart and lung function, helps prevent osteoporosis and improves mood. Several studies have found that physical activity also has the potential to improve brain functioning. It can slow down cognitive decline and reduce the risk of developing dementia.
The antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties in certain foods can alter age related changes in the brain. Curcumin found in turmeric, and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), a type of healthy omega-3 fatty acid in fish, reduce beta amyloid and plaques found in the brain. The MIND diet which is a combination of the Mediterranean and the DASH diets can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The diet consists of fruits, vegetables, small amounts of dairy, fish, poultry, red meat and berries which are good for the brain.
Keeping your brain active and engaged by reading newspapers, playing puzzles, going to museums and being socially active can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of intellectually stimulating activities can lead to cognitive decline and dementia. Brain function can be strengthened by regular mental exercise just as physical exercise strengthens the body.