Few diseases are sadder than Alzheimer’s disease. It’s absolutely disheartening when someone you know and love doesn’t recognize you anymore, or becomes increasingly forgetful. It’s also scary to know that you have a relative with Alzheimer’s because there’s such a strong genetic link. But the good news—excellent news, in fact—is that there are many ways to outsmart Alzheimer’s.
It just takes knowing which risk factors to watch for, and the preventive steps you can take right now...
* Watch Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: Many people don’t realize it, but high blood pressure and cholesterol can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s. You can lower your risk by eating a high-fiber, low-fat diet—including coldwater fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
* Raise Your HDL Cholesterol: Harvard researchers found a significant link between high HDL cholesterol levels (over 60 mg/dL) and reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease. The best ways to raise your HDL cholesterol is to exercise, avoid trans-fatty acids, and eat more soluble fiber.
* Take Antioxidants: Free radical damage is a factor in virtually every degenerative disorder. In a study involving nearly 5,000 participants, those taking 1,000 IU of vitamin E and 500–1,000 mg of vitamin C had a 64-78 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s than the placebo group.
* Tame Inflammation: Brain tissues affected by Alzheimer’s are a hotbed of inflammation, and an elevated blood level of C-reactive protein (CRP) is linked with increased risk of the disease. Tame the flames with nature’s premiere anti-inflammatories: omega-3 fats and curcumin. Studies show that people who eat fish just once a week reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s by 60 percent. In addition, DHA, one of the most abundant fats in the brain, is particularly helpful. Animal studies show that curcumin, which gives turmeric and curry heir bright color, lowers levels of inflammation in the brain and reduces beta-amyloid plaque by up to 50 percent.
* Reduce Your Homocysteine: Studies show that people with high homocysteine levels are at a 4.5 higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s than those with the lowest levels. Reduce your homocysteine by taking 800 mcg of folic acid, 150 mcg of vitamin B12, and 75 mg of vitamin B6 every day.
* Try These Herbs: Ginkgo biloba and vinpocetine, derived from the periwinkle plant, improve blood flow to the brain and facilitate the delivery of oxygen and glucose to the brain cells. Both of these have been shown in clinical studies to improve age-related memory impairment. Suggested doses are 100 mg of ginkgo and 10 mg of vinpocetine.
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