More than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and one-third of American seniors die with the disease or another form of dementia.
However, now there is real hope, according to Dr. Neal Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. “You may be able to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by a whopping 70 to 80 percent,” Barnard stated in an ABC News article.
Research supports that following four habits can ward off Alzheimer’s, as well as other neurological disorders that can steal your mind.
- Eating for Brain Health:
Important research has linked obesity to a greater risk of dementia. In fact, one study suggests that dementia risk is tripled for people who are obese in their 30s. Besides maintaining a healthy weight, its wise to enjoy a diet with plenty of veggies, legumes, fruits and whole grains. These foods are rich in vitamins and minerals – such as vitamin B6 and folate — that your brain thrives on. The Chicago Health and Aging Study found that a high intake of fruits and vegetables are linked with a reduced risk of cognitive decline. Besides improving brain health, these foods can also improve your physical health and well-being.
- Move Your Body, Benefit Your Brain:
It’s no surprise that exercise finds itself on this list. It seems that exercise benefits the brain in several different ways. It stands to reason, because cardiovascular exercise causes the heart to pump oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Additionally, it causes your body to produce a brain-derived substance that works as a kind of fertilizer for your brain, encouraging it to sprout new cells. Other research suggests that regular aerobic exercise can reduce your risk of dementia by 40 to 50 percent!
- Stop Stressing … Your Brain Will Thank You!
Are you worrying and stressing out about the prospect of cognitive issues at this very moment? Don’t. Scientists say simply worrying about memory loss could actually worsen your chances of maintaining a healthy, sharp mind. What’s more, stress relief is also prudent for those already struggling with the disease. A recent study found that meditating twice a day for stress relief can help reverse some memory loss in Alzheimer’s patients.
- The Benefits of B12:
This B vitamin is found in animal products and fortified foods. Why is it important? It helps reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid linked to cognitive issues. One Oxford University study of seniors with elevated levels of homocysteine discovered that B vitamin supplementation improved memory and reduced brain atrophy. It’s especially important to supplement if you are over 50 or follow a plant-based diet.