There are few families that haven’t been touched by Alzheimer’s. But there is encouraging research from the International Conference on Alzheimer’s Disease that has found that key lifestyle factors could reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s by 25%. We have put together some facts and statistics to help you become more informed, together with our tips on how to minimize the risk…
Reduce Your Risk Of Alzheimer’s:
Check Your Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure can triple the risk of developing dementia; we need to keep our arteries flowing to deliver oxygen, glucose and nutrients to our brains. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly. If the bottom number is 90 or over and the top is 145 or above, talk to your doctor about the best ways to get it down.
Increase Your Intake of B Vitamins
- B12 supplements can be a big help in reducing brain shrinking. You can easily get this from your food – try beef, shellfish and eggs. Soya milk is great for vegetarians who need a suplement.
- Exercise stimulates cognition and is brain protective. The body secretes protective chemicals during physical activity including a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), thought to spark the growth of neurons. Alzheimer’s disease is a gradual loss of total number of neurons in the brain. Something as simple as walking for 30 minutes a day could make a real difference.
- Research published in the medical journal Neurology has found that those who ate a diet consistently high in trans-fat-rich fast food had lower scores on brain tests and more grey matter shrinkage typical of Alzheimer’s disease. Avoid anything with the word ‘hydrogenated’ in its ingredients, as this will mean it contains trans-fats. Oily fish is a great source of omega-3 fat, which is the most brain protective. If you hate fish, look for a supplement, such as Biocare Mega EPA Forte (£9.95)
Monitor Your Weight And Waist
- Researchers are not certain how being very overweight adds to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia, but there is increasing evidence that it does. One theory is that too much insulin in the brain, which can be caused by being obese or overweight, may stimulate the build-up of ‘beta amyloid’ plaques found in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s. Whatever the reason, it can only be a good thing to try and keep up a healthy diet rich in nutrients and vitamins