Last week’s newsletter explored diet and lifestyle risk factors for Alzheimer’s and how your diet can impact your brain. Check it out here in case you missed it.
Your food and lifestyle choices determine if you are at high risk for developing memory loss or not. Today, I want to give you tips on how to create a lifestyle your brain will love as well as foods that nourish your brain (and also ones that are harmful).
We all need physical movement to be healthy, especially if your work entails a lot of sitting down. Exercise is also an important therapeutic strategy to reduce risk for dementia.
Aerobic exercise uses oxygen to meet the metabolic demand of the body as the cells convert more glucose into fuel or energy. The heart then pumps blood faster to meet the oxygen demand and to eliminate the carbon dioxide, as a byproduct of metabolism. This is why aerobic exercise is also referred to as cardio. Examples include walking, jogging, cycling, running, dancing, and swimming.
Take a moment to evaluate your lifestyle. From 1 to 10, where 1 is sedentary and 10 is active, where are you?
Depending on your answer, look for opportunities where you can improve. For example, squeeze in a 10-minute walk every day. It’s a lot better than nothing! Current recommendations are 150 minutes of walking weekly or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise. Start where you can. Any amount is better than none.
Poor sleep is a risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Want to maintain brain health even when you age? Aim for at least 8 hours of quality sleep every time you hit the sheets at night.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your brain cannot form pathways for new learning and memories. You might notice that when you lack sleep, it’s harder for you to concentrate and respond quickly.
Consider sleep to be as vital as food and water.
Manage Stress Effectively
Everybody deals with stress, but the way you manage it is a game changer. Stress management techniques such as imagery, yoga, deep breathing, friend time, exercise, and my favorite HeartMath are all helpful. Why I love HeartMath tools for managing my stress so much is because you can do them anywhere and anytime (and that is a great thing because stress can hit us anywhere and anytime…the sooner you can address it, the better!). One super easy HeartMath tool is called Heart-Focused Breathing and all you need to do is to focus your attention on your heart and imagine your breath flowing in and out of your heart or chest area. Make your breath a little slower and deeper than usual.
Doesn’t that feel great?!
Here are 10 other simple tips to help manage and reduce your stress levels.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Certain foods can badly affect your brain. The 7 Worst Foods for Your Brain are:
- Sugary drinks and food – This causes brain inflammation and memory impairment.
- Refined carbs – This refers to sugars and highly processed grains like white flour; it also causes insulin resistance.
- Foods high in trans-fats – These are chemically modified unsaturated fats that have a negative effect on the brain. You don’t need to worry about the trans-fats that are naturally occurring in small amounts in some foods like dairy. Our concern is the artificial trans-fats in shortening, margarine, frosting, microwavable popcorn, frozen foods, and so on.
- Highly processed foods – Avoid these because they usually are high in sugar, added fats, and salt.
- Aspartame – An artificial sweetener! Definitely a no-no! Phenylalanine, one of aspartame’s components crosses the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and disrupts neurotransmitter production.
- Alcohol – Drinking a glass of wine here and there may be fine, but excessive alcohol consumption is not healthy. Binge drinking and drinking to the point of slurred speech is particularly damaging to your brain.
- Fish high in mercury – Though fish is a good source of protein and healthy fats, you must be aware that fish is highly susceptible to accumulating mercury, most especially predatory fish such as shark and swordfish. Mercury is neurotoxic and can permanently damage the brain.
Instead focus on eating foods that make your brain function optimally. Make sure you get enough healthy fats like omega 3 fats from fatty fish (like salmon and sardines), coconut oil, extra-virgin coconut oil, avocados, eggs, nuts, and seeds.
It is also good if you can supplement your diet with high quality multivitamins and other food supplements for brain function, such as probiotics, since good gut health is crucial in brain function as well.
These are simple lifestyle changes that can create a big impact in your life, especially during your senior years. Won’t you love the elderly version of you who is still able to think clearly and enjoy all the good memories you’re creating?
It is my passion to work with people like you whose health symptoms are getting in the way of you living life fully and with a sense of freedom in your body. I can help you to regain your health, so you can feel great and free to enjoy life fully. I hope that today’s suggestions are helpful to you.
If you’re ready to discover where your best health has been hiding, I’d love to connect with you!
Apply for a complimentary Unstoppable Health Discovery Session. http://bit.ly/schedulinghealth (subject to availability).
Until next time, I’m wishing you unstoppable health!