With this year’s Memory Walk just around the corner, I’ve been receiving email from the Alzheimer’s Association regarding not only the walk but information on their research and other programs. In addition, there have been numerous stories about Alzheimer’s research on the news of late.
First I heard a story about a “smell” test that may predict the development of the disease, and then last week I saw a report about how a test performed by your eye doctor can be used as a predictor of problems 15-20 years in the future.
However, the news that most interested me was regarding brain health. I’ve been bombarded by stories on television, the radio, and from the Alzheimer’s Association about real, effective steps that can be taken to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, and that’s the message I want to know more about.
Four areas identified to maintain a healthy brain by the Alzheimer’s Association include:
- Be active. Not only does an active lifestyle reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, but it’s essential for good blood flow to the brain something necessary to encourage new blood cells. Thirty minutes a day of moderate exercise can make a difference.
- Eat healthy. Getting the right balance of nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, fish, and nuts, while limiting food high in fat and cholesterol appears to protect brain cells. Good nutrition also prevents high blood pressure and high cholesterol two more risk factors for the development of dementia; and maintaining a healthy weight significantly reduces the chance you’ll develop the disease. Eat well and in moderation.
- Spend time socializing. This sounds like a good excuse to enjoy time with friends. Social interaction improves brain health. Volunteer, join a club or community group, enjoy sporting or cultural events, participate in religious activities. Even engaging at work is beneficial.
- Use your brain. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, use it or lose it. Well, that applies to your brain. Engage in mental activity that stimulates your brain. Read, write, do puzzles, play games, learn new things. All of these activities provide the mental exercise your brain needs to thrive.
If diagnosed with a disease, we’re all anxious to get help. We’ll take off work to visit the doctor or schedule surgery. We’ll spend money on prescriptions or medical devices. However, until a problem occurs, many of us claim to be too busy to take care of ourselves – no time for exercise, no time to spend with friends, no time to read or eat properly. We claim it’s too expensive to eat healthy, yet it’s not as expensive as medication to control the problems caused by failure to care for our bodies.
Be active, eat right, spend time with friends, and stimulate your mind. It’s the least you can do to take care of your brain.
Remember, this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Ocala will take place on Saturday, September 6th. Register to participate or click here to support me as I walk in memory of Bettie Lou. Donations assist the Alzheimer’s Association in their mission:
To eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.