Eight Amazing Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s is an irretrievable progressive neurological disorder that generally affects millions of people over the age of 65. A neurodegenerative disorder, this begins slowly and gradually moves on to destroy cognitive abilities, concentration, judgement and carry out simple everyday tasks.
Alzheimer’s and Brain Abnormalities
The disease, which generally strikes older adults, is mainly due to age-related complicated changes that arise in the brain such as production of free radical substances and inflammation that subsequently result in brain deterioration. However, the key factor responsible for Alzheimer’s is brain cell
death. This happens gradually over a period of time that eventually leads to brain shrinkage. Besides this, people with this disorder have accumulation of a protein known as beta amyloidal plaques, that clump between nerve cells. Elevated levels of this protein generally correlates to low levels of acetylcholine a neurotransmitter, essential for concentration, memory and learning. These enact the role of the chemical messengers in the brain cells. Lack of this substance is the key factor responsible for cognitive decline.
Neurofibrillary tangles in the brain are an unusual type of tau protein, which normally helps sustain the healthy neurons in the brain enabling the flow of nutrients through the neurons. Besides this, the tangles and plaques make the neurons lose connectivity and destroy them. This leads to brain atrophy (Cell death)
Causes of Alzheimer’s Disease
There is no known cause for this disorder and scientists have been trying to unravel the mystery behind this disease that affects senior citizens primarily. Nevertheless, in a few unusual circumstances, this disease affects people belonging to the younger age group too. Although the exact cause is unknown, scientists opine that it could be due to a combination of factors such as genetic mutation, lifestyle and environmental influences.
Genetic predisposition is one of the main causes for the late onset of Alzheimer’s affecting people over 65 years old. A particular gene, namely Apolipoprotein E is closely associated with increased risk and occurrences of this degenerative disorder of the brain although there are possibilities of the involvement of other genes too.
Environmental influences too play a part in the onset of this disease, especially in individuals who have a genetic predisposition. According to researchers critical head injuries during early stages of adulthood or poor education are the other aspects that result in reduced mental activity and brain stimulation.
Symptoms of Alzheimer’s
Initial symptoms of Alzheimer’s include the following…
- Confusion regarding place and time
- Personality changes
- Changes in behaviour
- Mood swings
- Loss of memory
- Inability to complete regular tasks
- Language difficulty
- Lack of concentration
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired coordination and movements
- Discernment problems
Alzheimer’s generally referred as the Diabetes of the brain, because it causes neuron damage, prevents communication among the brain cells. This occurs because of insulin resistance and inflammation including other factors. However, there is no cure for this neurological disorder, despite the availability of innumerable drugs that, only help slow down the symptoms.
Although there is no conclusive treatment options for the disease, Research proves that following an active lifestyle with healthy eating habits, adequate rest and staying socially connected help prevent or put off the process of brain ageing and cognitive decline. Here are few preventive strategies to keep the brain stimulated and healthy.
1) Brain Stimulation
Several studies prove that keeping the brain active and stimulated decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s. Therefore, learning something new of interest, such as a language or musical instruments or picking up a hobby, getting engrossed in a book or reading the daily newspaper stimulates the brain cells. Besides these, enjoying board games, scrabble, crosswords puzzles, digital brain games and Sudoku imparts activity to the brain and helps retain cognitive links. However, it is advisable to start involving in these types of activities while young to prevent the onset of this disorder that occurs with ageing.
2) Healthy Diet
Studies confirm a strong association between metabolic disorders and the brains messenger cells. Hence it is crucial to consume an anti-inflammatory diet that stimulates energy production. Therefore, consuming a balanced diet consisting of vibrantly coloured fresh fruits and vegetables, provide the required vitamins and antioxidant substances necessary for overall wellbeing. In addition foods such as whole grains, olive oil and fatty fish complete with healthy DHA help decrease the beta amyloidal plaques in the brain thereby cutting down the likelihood of cognitive impairment. Also, including foods such as berries, soy and fish enable the glial cells to eliminate the toxins from the brain as unhealthy toxins are one of the major culprits responsible for the occurrences of neurological disorder. Maintaining healthy levels of blood sugar levels and insulin by taking small meals at regular intervals, avoiding carbohydrates, processed and unhealthy junk food keeps the brain healthy.
3) Regular Exercise
Regular exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, gardening and cleaning prevent brain deterioration and promote balance and coordination. This helps cut down the risk by 50%. Further, exercise can also help those with this disorder as it helps prevent further deterioration of the brain.
4) Healthy BMI
Studies illustrate that overweight and obese people are more at a risk of developing Alzheimer’s than those who maintain a healthy BMI.
5) Daily Meditation
Regular meditation for just about twelve minutes for a couple of months helped improve vascular circulation improved blood flow to the brain. Further it also helped balance moods reduced anxiety and depressive symptoms like mood swings and forgetfulness with better stress management.
6) More Sunlight
Sunlight is one of the best natural sources of Vitamin D. Studies reveal that lack of vitamin D elements in the body result in cognitive decline. Therefore it is important to get the daily dose of sunlight along with vitamin D enriched foods such as breakfast cereals, fruit juices, egg yolks and certain types of fish like sardines, mackerel and salmon. Nevertheless the combination of vitamin D3 combined with omega3 fatty fish helps eliminate the amyloid plaques in the brain.
7) Quality Sleep
Getting quality sleep of seven to eight hours a day secretes the melatonin and prevent the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain. Healthy levels of melatonin throughout the life prevent the formation although it cannot eliminate those that have already been formed. Therefore sleep keep the brain healthy improves memory and concentration alleviating brain decline.
8) Social Engagements
Maintaining social contacts help during midlife and enjoying brain healthy activities as a group put off the possible risk of this disease. Apart from this social interactions improved cognitive health and prevented deterioration of the brain cell activity.