How to Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer’s

How to Protect Your Brain from Alzheimer’s
While there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, researchers are well on the way to encouraging the aging population to be actively engaged in brain health. Three lifestyle factors which impact brain health in a big way are diet, exercise and stress management.

The latest research implicates chronic stress as it unleashes an inflammatory process which harms the brain. Consider anyone who is experiencing stress. What does this person notice? Short term memory is compromised along with an overall perception which is skewed to negativity. Essentially living with stress day in day out bodes poorly for the brain – altering brain chemistry.

A chemical hormone, corticosteroid, is released in the body as a reaction to stress and is two to three times higher in Alzheimer’s patients than non-Alzheimer’s patients. Therefore researchers at Temple University claim that it could be a key trigger for the mechanism of late onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

“Stress is an environmental factor that looks like it may play a very important role in the onset of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Domenico Praticò, professor of pharmacology and microbiology and immunology in Temple’s School of Medicine, who led the study. “When the levels of corticosteroid are too high for too long, they can damage or cause the death of neuronal cells, which are very important for learning and memory.”

Keep in mind that obesity is now officially labeled a disease. It is worthy to note that fat in the body is not inert as was previously thought. Apparently, fat releases an inflammatory process which alters hormones and disrupts other bodily processes. Moreover the Journal of the American Medical Association correlates eating saturated fat with the likelihood of triggering cognitive impairment which could lead to Alzheimer’s disease.

The take home message for those who are worried about getting Alzheimer’s because a family member had it: Genetic expression is a tricky thing. Environment has a great impact on which genes are expressed and which are not.

To minimize your risk of getting Alzheimer’s:
  • Adhere to a heart healthy diet like the Mediterranean meal plan. Eat salmon at least twice a week.
  • Exercise regularly to generate neuroplasticity to help counteract brain cell deterioration.

  • Lower your stress levels because whatever problem or grievance you have, it’s not worth losing your mind. Develop coping strategies to help you move past the problem. Stress will always land on your doorstep, but you don’t always have to open the door.

For more information on caregiving read my book, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout. To listen to archived radio shows with guest experts visit Turn On Your Inner Light Radio Show

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