Can Alzheimer’s be Prevented?

Several studies show that this disease can be fought before it appears. Through diverse healthy habits in diet or daily activities, it is possible to prevent Alzheimer’s from beginning to develop.  Learn more in the following article.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Before we talk about how to prevent Alzheimer’s, it is better to learn a few aspects related to this disease, which affects millions of people around the world.  This is a neuro-degenerative disorder, also known as “senile dementia”.  It is characterized in patients by immediate memory loss, and a reduction of mental capacities.  This is because the nerve cells die, and several areas of the brain become atrophied.

Someone can “coexist” with Alzheimer’s up to 10 years after diagnosis, with symptoms worsening over time.  It is incurable and terminal, and appears primarily in those who are 65 years of age, or older.  It was discovered by two psychiatrists in the beginning of the last century, the the initial symptom is lack of ability to retain information, or to remember what was said.

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As Alzheimer’s progresses, symptoms can be mental confusion, aggression, irritability, mood swings, long-term memory loss, isolation, speech disorders.  The causes of this disease are still unknown, and medical treatments are only available to achieve but a few results, not to totally cure.

Habits to prevent Alzheimer’s

As mentioned before, there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, nor is there treatment or medication that can slow or prevent it.  That’s why scientists advise that people have good dietary and physical habits, so that this illness will not be able to develop quite as easily, or to greatly lessen the symptoms.  You should keep these habits for this reason:

  • Reduce consumption of trans and saturated fats: these are the “bad guys” because they increase cholesterol levels and stimulate the production of harmful plaque in the brain (characteristics of Alzheimer’s disease).

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  • Eat more vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits: these ingredients can’t be absent in your daily diet, because they are rich in minerals, vitamins (like B6 and folic acid).  They help protect the brain and prevent cognitive deterioration.  At the same time, they reduce the risk of suffering from obesity, type II diabetes, and cholesterol, all of which are related to this disease.
  • Consume vitamin E daily: the dose is 5 mg, as this antioxidant is very good for the brain.  Where to find it?  In seeds like nuts, papaya, mango, avocado, tomato, red peppers, spinach, enriched grains and bread.
  • Ingest vitamin B12 supplements: found in products of animal origin and enriched foods.  These serve to reduce amino acid levels related to cognitive deterioration.  Consuming vitamin B helps improve memory and reduce brain atrophy.  A diet based on vegetables for those over the age of 50, is perfect.

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  • Controls diabetes: several studies have shown that type II diabetes increases the risk of suffering from this degenerative disease, because it also implies high blood sugar levels, which affects the brain.
  • Consume vegetable oils: they are rich in Omega-3 and could be flax or hemp.  Another option is fish oil, keeping in mind where it comes from, and its added ingredients.  A lot of fish contain mercury, whose toxicity is related to Alzheimer’s.
  • Avoid consuming groups of vitamins containing copper and iron: excessively ingesting these nutrients could cause brain problems.  They are already contained in a lot of foods we eat in our daily diet.
  • Reduce cooking in aluminum: pots and frying pans are made with this mineral, that is not good for health.  The same goes for utensils like ladles or spatulas.  In regards to aluminum foil, there are still not many studies, but this too should be avoided.
  • Walk three times a week: for 40 minutes each time, and at an energetic pace.  This will help you not only loose weight and to stop being so sedentary, but it will also reduce your risk of suffering from dementia by 50%,

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Photos courtesy of Bev Sykes, Andrea Nardi, Vince Alongi, Smanatha Ing, Martin Cathrae.