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9 Simple Habits You Can Start Today To Prevent Alzheimer’s And Dementia

If you’ve ever witnessed the effects of dementia or Alzheimer’s, you know just how devastating they can be. 
 
The memory loss, the changes in coordination, the confusion and disorientation can all be very scary.

They can also be very sad for family and friends of those affected.

And one of the most severe forms of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease.

In fact, it’s estimated that someone in the US develops Alzheimer’s disease about every 70 seconds.

It’s also estimated that 23% of people over 65 years of age already have some form of mild cognitive impairment.

That’s the main reason why neurologists who treat Alzheimer’s disease and other common forms of dementia agree that if you want to protect your brain as you age…you absolutely must take proactive steps.

And the sooner you take them, the better off you’ll be.

Even if you’re in the “prime of your life,” you still may not be protected.

Because, according to the Alzheimer’s Association approximately 500,000 Americans under age 65 suffer from Alzheimer’s disease—or some form of dementia.

So in an effort to help you take a more active role in protecting your brain we’ve put together a list of 9 Habits you can start today. 

Steps that will not only help prevent the onset of dementia, Alzheimer’s or other forms of cognitive impairment.

These 9 Simple Habits Will Keep
Your Brain Sharp, Focused And Youthful

Here they are:

1. Quit Smoking

We all know that smoking is harmful to your health and it increases your risk for lung cancer. But according to recent clinical studies smokers are also at greater risk of developing all types of dementia. They are also much more likely (up to 79% more likely) to develop Alzheimer’s.1

If you smoke, now would be a good time to stop.

2. Get More Vitamin B12

New research suggests that Vitamin B12 can help protect you from dementia. In one study researchers found that in their evaluation of 121 people those with lower levels of B12 scored lower on cognitive tests and had smaller volumes on MRI scans.

And according to Christine Tangney, a clinical nutritionist at Rush University in Chicago: "Every single marker of low vitamin B12 was correlated with low brain volume.”

Eggs, meat, fish and all seafood are good sources of B12.

3. Get More Exercise

According to researchers, regular exercise may preserve hippocampal volume which is the first part of the brain attacked by Alzheimer’s. 

A new study from the University of Maryland studied the effects of regular exercise on seniors who were at risk for Alzheimer’s.

The results showed that physical activity has the potential to protect and preserve volume in the hippocampus.2

The researchers studied four different groups of individuals and at the end of the study only those at high genetic risk for Alzheimer's who did not exercise experienced a decrease in hippocampal volume.

Even implementing something as simple as a walking program can improve brain function and limit cognitive decline.

4. Get More Vitamin D

There is a very strong connection between a lack of vitamin D and the development of Alzheimer’s/dementia. 

And according to a recent landmark study, a severe vitamin D deficiency increased the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much a 125%.3

In fact, people who were severely deficient in vitamin D were more than twice as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer's disease as people who got enough.

In order to get enough vitamin D try and be in the sun as much as you can with your arms and legs exposed. If you live in areas where there is not sufficient sunlight, vitamin D supplementation may be necessary.

5. Get More Sleep

In the journal Science researchers found that lack of sleep may lead to the development of Alzheimer’s.4 

Scientists from The Center for Translational Neuromedicine, Department of Neurosurgery, University of Rochester Medical Center discovered that a waste-draining system they call the “glymphatic system” is ten times more active while you’re asleep than when you are awake. 

This draining system removes proteins called amyloid-beta, which accumulate into the plaques that contribute to Alzheimer’s and dementia.

6. Drink coffee

Do you enjoy a nice hot cup of coffee? If you do that’s great. Because as it turns out, coffee is great for your brain. 

In one study drinking 3-5 cups of coffee per day at midlife was associated with a 65% decreased risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.5

Coffee als0 happens to be a strong antioxidant with a great amount of magnesium.

If you’re not a coffee drinker, what are you waiting for?

7. Keep Your Head Protected

Head trauma and dementia are closely related. One study showed that traumatic brain injury can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 4 times.6

It’s always a good idea to wear a helmet when you ride a bike, go horseback riding, ice skate or ski. You never know when you’re going to need it.

8. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

The more alcohol you drink the greater your risk of developing dementia. 

Although there are several studies suggesting that moderate alcohol consumption can actually be beneficial to your health, others suggest that overindulging can have the opposite effects.7

9. Work Your Brain 

Your brain works a lot like a muscle and the more you use it the stronger it gets. And brain exercises are an excellent way to keep your mind healthy and stimulated. 

Activities like reading or doing crossword puzzles can be very helpful as well as any type of problem solving.

Also, don’t be afraid to try something new – learning new things is a great way to keep your brain engaged and your mind stimulated. 

You can also try some of the cognitive programs available to challenge your brain in different ways. 

These 9 simple habits can help prevent the progression of dementia, Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline.  

Feel free to share them with others and together we can help slow the progression of these devastating brain changes.

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References:

1. Barnes, D. and Yaffe, K. (2011). The projected effect of risk factor reduction on Alzheimer's disease prevalence. The Lancet Neurology, 10(9), pp.819-828.

2. UMD Right Now :: University of Maryland. (2014). Exercise Keeps Hippocampus Healthy in People at Risk for Alzheimer's.

3. Littlejohns, T., Henley, W., Lang, I., Annweiler, C., Beauchet, O., Chaves, P., Fried, L., Kestenbaum, B., Kuller, L., Langa, K., Lopez, O., Kos, K., Soni, M. and Llewellyn, D. (2014). Vitamin D and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease.

4. Xie, L., Kang, H., Xu, Q., Chen, M., Liao, Y., Thiyagarajan, M., O'Donnell, J., Christensen, D., Nicholson, C., Iliff, J., Takano, T., Deane, R. and Nedergaard, M. (2013). Sleep Drives Metabolite Clearance from the Adult Brain. Science.

5. Eskelinen, M. and Kivipelto, M. (2010). Caffeine as a Protective Factor in Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 20(s1), pp.S167-S174.

6. Shively, S., Scher, A., Perl, D. and Diaz-Arrastia, R. (2012). Dementia Resulting From Traumatic Brain Injury. Archives of Neurology, 69(10).

7. Ridley, N., Draper, B. and Withall, A. (2013). Alcohol-related dementia: an update of the evidence. Alzheimer's Research & Therapy, 5(1), p.3.

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