The beginning of a new year is a time for recommitment and renewal. We are closing out 2015 with no cure or treatment for Alzheimer’s, but with an abundance of evidence that shows the importance of everyday, positive lifestyle choices for disease prevention.
Here are 16 resolutions to consider in 2016 to potentially prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A Look Back at Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s continues on a path to reach epidemic proportions. In 2015, nearly 44 million people worldwide had Alzheimer’s or a related form of dementia with only 25% of people having the disease having actually been diagnosed.
The cost of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s in the United States was estimated to reach $226 billion this year and the global cost of the disease was estimated to be $605 billion, equal to 1% of the world’s gross domestic product.
Finding a cure for Alzheimer’s is non-negotiable but with no cure or treatment method in sight, 2015 led to many studies focused on Alzheimer’s prevention instead of treating those already diagnosed.
16 Resolutions to Prevent Alzheimer’s in 2016
Consider taking up these resolutions in the new year to improve your overall health and potentially lower your risk of Alzheimer’s.
- Have more coffee. This may be an easy resolution for some. A study from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, concluded that coffee can reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain by as much as 50%.
- Consider following the MIND Diet. A study from the Rush University in Chicago found that following the Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) Diet can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by as much as 50% and can still protect the brain even when followed loosely.
- Add a glass of wine to your diet. Recent studies have shown that people who consumed alcohol in moderation were 23% less likely to develop dementia. It is important to note that heavy drinkers were more likely to develop dementia.
- Drink champagne in moderation. In 2015, a study resurfaced, concluding that champagne has brain boosting benefits when consumed in moderation.
- Eat more spinach. A study conducted by Rush University in Chicago found that consuming just one serving of a green, leafy vegetable daily can slow cognitive decline. Participants who ate one serving of a green, leafy vegetable daily had the same cognitive abilities has someone 11 years younger than them who did not consume similar vegetables.
- Increase cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular exercise can increase blood flow to the brain, potentially decreasing the risk for dementia.
- Exercise more, sit less. A study from the Northern California Institute for Research and Education in San Francisco found that people who reported watching more than 4 hours of television a day were twice as likely to have poor cognitive ability in middle age.
- Participate in formal education. Keeping your brain active by taking a class at a local college, no matter your age has been shown to positively impact brain health.
- Get more sleep. A study completed at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, found that sleep can improve memory, even for people already living with Alzheimer’s.
- Eat less sugar. Washington University found that doubling glucose levels in mice increased beta amyloid in the brain by as much as 20%.
- Treat anxiety and depression. A history of depression and anxiety can have an increased risk of dementia.
- Stay socially active. Depression can cause a decreased level of energy. Stay active to fight depression and boost brain health.
- Maintain good health by avoiding diabetes. A recent study linked the brain tangles found in people with diabetes to the brain tangles found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, strengthening the correlation between the two conditions.
- Challenge your mind. More brain games are being developed to fight Alzheimer’s and track the progression of the disease. Keep your mind engaged and active to boost brain health.
- Avoid a poor diet. A study from the Meritorious University of Puebla found that a high calorie diet can cause inflammation and neurodegeneration in the hippocampus and cerebral cortex, two main areas of the brain responsible for memory.
- Maintain a healthy weight through mid-life. A study conducted by researchers from the Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience at that National Institute on Aging found that participants with a BMI over 25 at the age of 50 were more likely to experience the onset of Alzheimer’s 7 months before participants who were at a healthy weight.
Which of these resolutions will you make in 2016? What will you do to stay healthy in the New Year? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.