HOUSTON (FOX 26) - Alzheimer's Disease is a form of dementia that robs the mind and often leaves families feeling sad and lonely. Treatments are often limited, so prevention may be the best medicine. Promising new research shows you may be able to reduce your risk by at least 75 percent with seven simple steps. Preventing it is more important than ever, because the rate of Alzheimer's disease diagnoses is expected to triple in the next thirty years and is the sixth leading cause of death.
Tracy Southwick, the owner of Heights of Health, shared the following strategies to prevent the devastating disease:
The first step of prevention is all about hydrating your brain.
"Our brain is mostly water," says Southwick. "The fat cells are made out of water, so when we drink water we do two things: one is we help the brain detoxify, we also help bring nutrients into the brain, so water is really important." She also says being dehydrated only 1 percent makes your brain functions decline.
We are what we eat, and a Mediterranean-style diet appears to be the healthiest choice for your brain.
"That's a lot of vegetables and a lot of good fats like olive oil, healthy fishes, wild-caught fishes, a reduction in sugar, reduction in processed foods and dairy products, so healthy, lean meats with good fats, like avocado," says Southwick.
Doctors say the right supplements are also very important, especially B12 and Vitamin D3. They also believe almost 90 percent of Americans are deficient in D, or the sunshine vitamin!
You may think of exercise as benefiting your heart and weight, but it's highly beneficial for your brain!
"There's a huge correlation with exercise and anti-aging, I'm very passionate about it," says Southwick. "You need a minimum of 30 minutes three times per week, but not just exercise, you need movement! Don't stay seated longer than twenty minutes, your body starts to slow down. Systems start to reduce, not moving your nutrients around, your brain starts to become sluggish."
Sleep not only makes you feel better, it's powerful for your brain.
"As we sleep, our brain cells shrink a little, and the cerebral spinal fluid washes away the toxins that we build during the day," says Southwick. "So if you don't get enough sleep and don't get continual sleep and get rid of the toxins, it builds up in the brain. They (researchers) think that increases the amyloid plaque, which is what they measure to determine what's going on with Alzheimer's."
6. Eliminate toxins
"Aluminum - be careful of deodorant," says Southwick. "You sweat out of those pores, and your body can reabsorb there, and there's a connection being found with brain health and aluminum. Avoid all pesticides. Pesticides are meant to destroy the nervous system of insects, but they also destroy our nervous system. When you're eating high pesticide food and crops, your body is more inclined to have a damaged nervous system, as well as what you do for pest control in your house."
7. Manage stress
Finally, it's important to find ways to relax, to reduce your levels of stress.
"Every disease is either created or exacerbated by stress, so it's really important to work on how we can reduce stress without fight or flight," says Southwick. "I don't tell you all these things to scare you or cause more stress! If you pick a few of them, it can make a dramatic difference, by leading a balanced life! Alzheimer's risk is under our control - our brain is not a solid."