My stepfather has advanced Alzheimer’s Disease. I know I can’t inherit it from him, but I have become much more aware the past few years. Before he came down with it, Alzheimer’s was something that happened to other people, but not to anyone I knew. It wasn’t really something that I thought about a great deal. Bill Cosby said that old age is always 15 years away, but I don’t intend to wait that long to take action. Having it strike so close to home and seeing the effect it has had on him and my mother, I’m determined to take what steps I can to reduce my chances of getting it as I age.
From what I have read, diet can play a significant role in Alzheimer’s. First, I’m going to eat more fish-not exactly a hardship for me! Our brains are about 70 percent fat so the kinds of fats we eat do have an impact on our brain health. Fish is well known as a great source of omega-3 fats. People who consume high levels of these anti-inflammatory fatty acids have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The most abundant omega-3 fatty acid in the brain, docosahexaenoic acid or DHA, protects brain neurons against the toxic events associated with amyloid plaques and tau tangles, which accumulate from Alzheimer’s disease.
Next, I’m making sure to get a lot more antioxidants in my diet. Eating fruits and vegetables with high antioxidant levels will lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease by protecting the brains from oxidative (think, “corrosive”) free radicals that cause wear and tear on the DNA in our cells. Most colorful red and blue berries, like strawberries, blackberries and blueberries contain polyphenols that fight free radicals. Other antioxidant foods containing polyphenols include grapes, pears, plums and cherries, as well as vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, celery, onions and parsley. The easiest way for me to take in antioxidants is to continue to have Shakeology for breakfast each day, as well as eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Between these two factors, along with exercising regularly to reduce the potential for plaque building up in my arteries, I hope to reduce (if not eliminate) the potential of contracting Alzheimer’s Disease. By staying fit, my serum cholesterol level will be good, and I won’t need to resume taking statins to reduce it. This is important because there are some medical professionals who are persuaded that statins interfere with the glial cells of the brain, leading to Alzheimer’s. In fairness, there are conflicting opinions on this issue. However, I prefer to take a conservative stand. Besides, eating well and exercising have many benefits beyond those I’ve mentioned, so why not pursue diet and fitness on general terms?