24 Feb 20 Ways to Avoid Alzheimer’s
Keeping your brain active well into old age can come down to a few simple lifestyle factors.
The prospect of developing Alzheimer’s disease is a frightening one for many Australians. However, staving off the disease could be as simple as making some sensible lifestyle choices now, helping you towards a brighter future and a happier old age. Here are 20 of the best tips to help you avoid Alzheimer’s – an edited extract from 100 Simple Things you can do to Avoid Alzheimer’s, by Jean Carper
1. Keep your balance
Include exercises to maintain and improve balance in your daily routine, especially after the age of 60. The advice from the Mayo Clinic is: “Try balancing on one foot while waiting in line, or stand up and sit down without using your hands.” Work on specific balance exercises at your gym, or check with local senior centres and hospitals to see if they conduct balance classes.
2. Get smart about alcohol
If you do drink, stick to low or moderate amounts, sipped slowly, preferably with food. That means no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. One drink usually means a 350-millilitre beer, a shot of liquor or 147 millilitres of wine.
3. Beware of bad fats
Think of saturated and trans fats as brain enemies and stay away from them as much as possible. Restrict fatty meats, which also destroy cognitive function in other ways. Buy low-fat or fat-free dairy products, trim skin from poultry and run like crazy from trans fats.
4. Control blood pressure
Do everything to keep your blood pressure down, starting early in life. Cut your salt intake. Exercise. Give up sugary soft drinks – one study found more than two and a half soft drinks a day raised the risk of developing high blood pressure by 87 per cent. Take up meditation. Take appropriate blood-pressure-lowering drugs as prescribed by your doctor; their impact can be huge in keeping your brain dementia-free.
5. Be a busy body
Keep your foot jiggling, your fingers fidgeting, use stairs whenever you can. Just remember to move those muscles – little ones, big ones, whenever and wherever. As far as your brain knows, all activity counts to help deter memory loss and possibly Alzheimer’s.
6. Treat yourself to chocolate
Choose dark chocolate high in flavonols and low in kilojoules and fat. Cocoa powder has the most flavonols, says Dr Joe Vinson, a professor of chemistry at the University of Scranton in the US. It has twice as many flavonols as dark chocolate, which has twice as many as milk chocolate. White chocolate has zero.
7. Go crazy for cinnamon
Cinnamon is effective at reversing insulin resistance. Sprinkle it on liberally – a half to one teaspoon a day.
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