Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that impairs memory and other important cognitive functions. Today, it affects about 5.3 million Americans and is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. The number is alarming and continues to increase each year. Before it’s too late, take extra steps on keeping your brain young and healthy. Here are seven things you can do. (h/t to GreenMedInfo.com)
- Take bacopa: As an Ayurvedic medicine, bacopa (Bacopa monnieri) is often used as a memory and learning enhancer, a sedative, and anti-epileptic. A study in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine revealed that bacopa, also known as water hyssop, has positive effects on several measures of cognitive performance. Another study, which was published in the journal Psychopharmacology, found that participants aged 65 or older who took 300 mg of bacopa every day for 12 weeks experienced improvements in their recall memory, reaction times, and ability to ignore irrelevant information. Bacopa supplementation also reduced the participants’ heart rate, depression, and anxiety.
- Consume ginkgo biloba: Ginkgo biloba is associated with memory enhancement, acting as a free radical scavenger that protects neurons from oxidation. Additionally, it enhances microcirculation in the brain and reduces platelet aggregation. A study published in the Archives of Medical Research showed that those who took ginkgo biloba regularly experienced improvements in mental health, cognition, motor skills, and quality of life. The herb was also helpful for alertness, attention, memory loss, mental fluidity, and vigilance, according to a study in the French journal Annales Pharmaceutiques Françaises. Ginkgo biloba was also found to be just as effective as the prescription drug donepezil for mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, according to a study in the European Journal of Neurology.
- Supplement with curcumin: The spice turmeric may help reduce Alzheimer’s disease because of its active ingredient curcumin. Consuming turmeric more than once a month can improve brain performance in people aged between 60 and 93 years old, according to a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology. (Related: Curcumin eradicates brain protein fragments to fight Alzheimer’s disease.)
- Add tea, wine, and chocolate to your diet: Eating flavonoid-rich foods may improve cognition. In a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, researchers found that older people who consumed tea, wine, or chocolate improved their scores on cognitive tests and had lower rates of poor cognitive performance. Moreover, those who ate all three foods had the best test scores and the lowest risks for poor test performance. It is important to note that the results were dose-dependent; the best performance maxed out at 10 g per day of chocolate and 75 to 100 mL per day of wine. The effect was most pronounced for wine and modestly weaker for chocolate.
- Eat antioxidant-rich foods: Antioxidants keep the brain young and sharp because of their ability to fight oxidative stress and inflammation that impair brain function. A study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggested that eating more antioxidant-rich foods such as berries, Concord grapes, and walnuts may enhance cognitive and motor function in older people.
- Reduce your calorie intake: Experimental models of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and stroke demonstrated that reduced calorie intake can prevent dysfunction and death of neurons in the brain. It works by stimulating the expression of stress proteins and neurotrophic factors that may protect neurons. Dietary restriction may also boost the brain’s capacity for plasticity and self-repair.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep greatly affects your health, including brain health. When you sleep, your brain works 10 times as hard to remove toxic proteins such as those responsible for Alzheimer’s. Researchers from the University of Oregon found that middle-aged or older people who get six to nine hours of sleep each night think better than those who lack sleep or oversleep.
There are warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. If you observe any of the following, don’t ignore them and act as soon as possible:
- Forgetting recently learned information
- Mood and behavior changes
- Confusion about events, time, and place
- Difficulty speaking, swallowing, and walking
Protect your brain from this deadly disease. Read more tips on how to prevent it at Alzheimers.news.
- Study: Trans fats linked to poor brain health and greater risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Proactive stroke prevention: Keep your brain healthy by strengthening your heart
- Potential threats to child brain health: Daily exposure to heavy metals in baby food could build up over time, warns experts
- Boost brain health with taurine, an amino acid with antidepressant properties