Jan 172013
 

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I found this statistic very alarming. I had no idea Alzheimer’s Disease was so prevalent; basically, one in eight older Americans have the condition. My post this week is about ways to protect our brain from this deadly disease.

We cannot prevent getting older just as we can’t change the genes we inherited from our parents. But we can do something as simple as moving our bodies. According to Dr. Oz, exercise may not only protect the heart, they may protect us from Alzheimer’s. In fact, in animal studies, exercise has been shown to clear beta-amyloid better than any pharmaceutical we know of. (Beta-amyloid circulates in human blood and in cerebrospinal fluid and is deposited into plaques and found in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease).

Dr. Oz recommends 20 minutes of aerobic exercise 6 or 7 days each week. In fact, new research actually shows increased growth of the brain’s “memory center” in people who exercise regularly. All the more reasons to hit the gym or take that extra set of stairs instead of the elevator! Research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s International Conference in July suggests that strength training could be the best exercise intervention.

Among the small studies presented, one demonstrated that women between ages 70 and 80 benefited from weight-lifting, walking and balance exercises, but those who used weights showed the most improvement. I was excited to read this as I have been lifting water weights 3 days a week at the Y!

Did you know that Alzheimer’s Disease is now being called type 3 diabetes? Check out this post for more information about this. According to Dr. Oz, in his book YOU:Staying Young, this is because Type 2 diabetes (the kind associated with being overweight) increases the risk of Alzheimer’s, probably by increasing inflammation or arterial aging, but also because too much of the hormone insulin in the brain can stimulate beta-amyloid buildup.

We are definitely talking about lifestyle changes here; obviously diet plays an important role as well as exercise. One study even indicated that the more negative your overall demeanor the more it will affect your health, possibly leading to cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Avoiding sugar and highly processed refined foods is critical in establishing optimal digestive health and improving our immune response, yet another lifestyle choice to preventing this disease. Neurofibrillary tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease contain aluminum (an element that makes up 14% of the earth’s crust) according to Dr.Oz. He suggests that although there is no evidence suggesting that aluminum causes memory problems, it’s better to try to avoid it. Use sea salt instead of table salt, which is processed with aluminum to avoid caking. Other things that contain aluminum include nondairy creamers, antacids, cans, certain cookware and antiperspirants.

One of the best ways to feed our brains are omega-3 fatty acids – the kinds of fat found in fish like wild salmon. These healthy fats not only help keep your arteries clear but improve the function of your message-sending transmitters. Eating about 15 ounces of fish each week can achieve this or simply take purified, pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fish oil capsules with DHA.

What about you? Are you concerned about memory loss? What are you doing to prevent this from happening?

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