Alzheimer’s diseases is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually the ability to carry out the daily activities (National Institute of Ageing) . It is also called senile dementia which can be explained as loss of memory associated with ageing.
World Alzheimer’s Day, launched in 2012, is observed on 21 September each year, to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia. Although this condition is associated with age, scientists are exploring whether factors such as exercise, diet and brain games can play a role in delaying or even preventing Alzheimer’s
- Exercise: Exercising at least 3 times a week for 40 minutes (e.g. brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming ,etc) can raise the level of a nerve growth factor that is important to memory and learning and also stimulate the human brain’s ability to maintain old network connections and make new ones that are vital to healthy cognition
- Green leafy vegetables: At least 2 servings of green leafy vegetables such as spinach, fenugreek , amaranth, etc every week can protect degeneration of the brain. Eating them daily is even more beneficial.
- Colourful seasonal vegetables: Daily consumption of 2 cups of vegetables can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Nuts: Snacking on nuts 5 times a week is good for brain health
- Berries: Berries such as blueberries and strawberries have particularly shown positive effects on preventing brain cell damage
- Beans: Eating beans three times a week plays a role in protecting against cognitive decline
- Whole grains: 3 servings of whole grains daily improve cognitive function
- Fish: Consuming fish at least once a week helps protect brain function
- Olive oil: Studies have shown that people who used olive oil as their primary oil at home experience greater protection against cognitive decline
- Turmeric: Curcumin (active compound in turmeric) has an antioxidative and anti-inflammatory effect which improves cognitive functions in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
- B12 supplement providing upto 2.4mcg /day for adults is recommended
- Red meat: Limit consumption of red meat to no more than four servings a week to help protect brain health.
- Saturated fat and refined sugar containing foods, especially bakery products (bread, biscuits, cookies, cakes, chicken nuggets, french fries, cheese, etc) need to be avoided as they impair learning and memory
- Aluminium free – minimize exposure to aluminium by avoiding use of cookware, antacids, baking powder, or other products that contain aluminum.
In addition to these, simply keeping the brain active through ordinary activities like listening to the radio, reading newspapers, playing puzzle games, and visiting museums can prevent cognitive decline and thereby reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease