Nip it in the bud: Healthy habits you can practice today to prevent Alzheimer’s

In America, at least a third of individuals aged 85 and above have Alzheimer’s disease. Even though medication can help manage the symptoms of the condition, these drugs are also linked to negative side effects. To date, no drug can actually prevent a person from developing Alzheimer’s.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, which is a severe progressive and neurodegenerative disease. The condition is also associated with brain inflammation.

Thankfully, ongoing research has helped determine several preventative measures that can help delay the onset of the condition.

Delaying Alzheimer’s

Address depression. Depression is one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s, and must be addressed to help lower the chances of this condition developing.

Follow the Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet, which includes foods like cheese, fish, legumes, olive oil, and yogurt can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. Other foods to add to your diet include:

  • Berries (e.g., blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries)
  • Green leafy vegetables (e.g., cooked greens, kale, and spinach)
  • Non-starchy vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains (e.g., brown rice, oatmeal, quinoa, and whole wheat bread/pasta)

Get enough sleep. Sleep is important for maintaining brain health. The accumulation of amyloid matter causes Alzheimer’s, but the protein is eliminated when you are asleep. According to studies, getting enough quality sleep can help prevent Alzheimer’s.

Increase your intake of plant-based compounds. According to a study, there are several plant-based compounds that have neuroprotective properties. These compounds can even help prevent the neurodegeneration linked to Alzheimer’s. The study determined that phytochemicals like curcumin (in turmeric), oxyresveratrol (in white mulberry), and quercetin (in mulberry fruit), along with various compounds in citrus fruits, ginger root, gingko biloba, ginseng, and green tea, possess potent anti-inflammatory and/or anti-oxidant properties. These properties are also neuroprotective and may benefit individuals with Alzheimer’s.

In studies concerning thousands of patients, gingko was proven to have slowed cognitive decline.

Research on some of the compounds mentioned above, which were tested on animal brain models, have confirmed protective and preventative effects. However, further study can help confirm similar neuroprotective efficacy for Alzheimer’s disease in human brains.

However, some natural remedies may be linked to adverse side effects. For example, compounds like gingko may increase the risk of bleeding, which can be severe if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication, have a bleeding disorder, or about to undergo surgery. Do not take any of these agents without consulting a medical professional about the risk of interactions with current medication and negative side effects. (Related: Good fats, antioxidants, and sunshine: A recipe for beating Alzheimer’s.)

Manage vascular risk factors like high cholesterol and hypertension. Findings from a separate study revealed that antihypertensive treatment and statins can reduce the chance of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The meta-analysis, which was based on a review of eight randomized controlled trials and 52 prospective trials, have identified high cholesterol and hypertension as “vascular risk factors” for Alzheimer’s.

Minimize stress levels. High stress levels are linked to oxidative damage, which is then associated with a greater risk of developing cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Interventions such as exercise, mindfulness-based exercises, and psychotherapy (various treatments that can help individuals with mental health problems, emotional challenges, and some psychiatric disorders, manage their condition) can help you manage your stress levels.

Try aerobic exercise. Moderate aerobic exercise has been proven to have significant protective effects on brain health. Regular physical activity can also help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. Data from a study showed that walking is linked to increased volume of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is involved in memory.

With exercise, individuals with Alzheimer’s will have stronger neural cell connections along with reduced inflammation and oxidative damage. Exercise is also associated with higher levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. Before you start an exercise regimen, consult a healthcare professional to determine the appropriate level of physical exercise for your condition.

Alzheimer’s disease can significantly change the lives of individuals and their families. Follow these healthy habits today so you can help prevent or delay the onset of this debilitating condition.

Learn about other healthy habits that can help you manage or prevent cognitive health issues at

Sources include:

comments powered by Disqus