Lower your stress levels
Persistent stress can take a toll on the brain, and research indicates that chronic stress can accelerate Alzheimer’s disease. When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol, a hormone linked to memory trouble. In addition, researchers have found that stress can lead to conditions such as depression and anxiety – which also ups the risk for dementia. “Eliminating stress helps reduce the amount of cortisol and optimises glucose utilisation, which your brain needs for food,” says Dr. Devi. Find out how to teach yourself to meditate and beat stress.
Try the MIND diet
A combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, the MIND diet is designed specifically for brain health. (MIND is short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.) The diet is pretty pleasant: You eat at least three servings of whole grains a day, two portions of vegetables (one of which must be a leafy green), snack on nuts, eat lean proteins like chicken and fish, berries, and have a glass of wine a day. According to research, those who adhered to the diet rigorously were able to lower their risk of cognitive decline later in life. You can’t trust all diets, warns Dr. Knopman, but he likes this approach: “I tell my patients that if you follow a reasonable diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetable that balances different food groups, and avoid obesity, you will be OK.”
Get your snoring checked out
Another way to wreck your sleep without realising it is with sleep apnoea. According to the National Institutes of Health, sleep apnoea occurs when a person’s upper airway becomes blocked repeatedly during sleep, reducing or completely stopping airflow. Many factors – from obesity to large tonsils to neuromuscular disorders – can cause sleep apnoea. If left untreated, sleep apnoea not only prevents restful sleep, but it can increase the risk of developing certain health conditions. “If left untreated, sleep apnoea has significant cardiovascular consequences and consequences of mental function,” says Dr. Knopman. Recent research also links sleep apnoea to the accumulation of biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. Treatment may save your brain, not to mention your life. Along with sleep apnoea, here are 13 common illnesses that have been linked to Alzheimer’s.