It’s a statistic that’s almost impossible to ignore. There are currently 50 million people worldwide living with some form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease, the most common degenerative brain disorder which actually manifests as a disease.
Although the two terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they really should not be. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, dementia is a broad classification for a decline in a person’s mental ability that has become severe enough to interfere with their daily life. Alzheimer’s, on the other hand, is a cause of dementia – albeit the most widely recognized – but by no means the only one.
As an example, dementia can take different forms depending on the location in the brain that is experiencing the cell damage – most often located in or near the hippocampus – the region of the brain that is the epicenter for memory.
Earlier this year, the Alzheimer’s Association published a ground-breaking report on lifestyle interventions that can be utilized to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. The report concluded that even though there is no present cure for Alzheimer’s, research confirms that the use of healthy habits to promote optimum brain health can reduce a person’s risk for cognitive decline.
With that good news in hand, we provide the following information to help anyone interested in adopting improved habits as a defense — not only against cognitive disorders, but optimum cellular function in general.
Most people who are experiencing a decline in their health want to look for something to blame. In the case of cognitive decline, there are three undisputed culprits at play. They are diet, level of physical activity, and tobacco use.
Having those three simple factors identified can make a world of difference not only in a person’s brain health, but their overall health, as well. Keep reading to learn how you can take better control of this triad of health.
You’ve probably read information in the past on the importance of eating a “heart healthy” diet, but the same is true for a “brain healthy” diet. One thing that the two have in common is a reduction in the use of saturated fats.
Two popular healthy eating plans that can help heart and brain health include the Mediterranean diet and what is known as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Research is showing that these two eating plans help reduce heart disease and may also be able to reduce risk of dementia.
If you’re concerned about your current diet and what role in may be playing in your long-term brain health, My Pure MD can perform testing to help identify your micro nutrient status and assess any abnormalities in your cellular function.
If you currently exercise on a regular basis, congratulations! You’re one step ahead of many who have not yet incorporated increased activity into their wellness plan. If you’re still looking for proof that regular exercise can benefit your mind and body, Time magazine published an article that cited research indicating that regular exercise may slow cognitive decline.
We’re certainly not suggesting that you become a gym-rat. The guideline for optimum health is to get at least 15 to 30 minutes of exercise each day to help boost cognitive functioning. If you’re able, aerobic activity such as running, swimming, and fast walking are always good ideas. If you’re unable to participate at that level, try walking, stretching, or yoga as a way to get started.
Even though a large part of the population believes that making a switch from traditional tobacco cigarettes to battery powered E-cigarettes is a healthier choice, the realities are that it is not. The fact remains that nicotine in any form is not only addictive, but it affects the brain. And since vaping is a relatively new addiction for many young people, the research is not entirely clear on how the habit will affect the cognitive health of their brain.
There is some early research being done to investigate whether or not a transdermal nicotine patch may be helpful to treat depression; but until that research is completely flushed out through empirical studies, the continued use of nicotine is similar to playing Russian Roulette with your brain health.
If you’d like to get a head start in the maintenance of your brain health without the use of over-the-counter supplements that often over-promise and under-deliver, the first step is to make an appointment with a functional medicine practice such as My Pure MD.