Ward off Dementia and Alzheimer’s with Diet and Leisure Activities
The brain is a vast, complicated network of highly- electrical nerves surrounded by fatty tissue for insulation. Just like a piece of wire is made up of copper strands to conduct electricity and enveloped by a plastic and rubber insulation, your brain tissue and nervous system functions in a similar – though certainly much more complicated—way.
When the outer insulation—or myelin sheath—of nervous tissue is damaged, wires get crossed and tangled, signals become mismanaged and quite a bit of confusion can result. Damage to brain tissue is thought to be a result of inflammation, age, and possibly our diet.
Probably one of the most functions the brain has is memory, and memory suffers most with conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. There are strong links between what you eat and how well you can retain and use your memory as you age. Because once brain tissue and brain matter is gone – you cannot get it back. This makes taking action now to preserve your memory key to maintaining your brain’s ability to solve puzzles, balance, and remember important details each day.
Consuming excess sugar and simple carbohydrates most likely has an effect on how well you retain your memory. Following a Mediterranean diet may have a promising effect on preventing dementia. A Mediterranean-type diet includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, lean proteins, olive oil and nuts, seeds and legumes, and is very low in simple sugars, simple carbohydrates, desserts, sweets, chips, pretzels, doughnuts, etc.
Mediterranean-style diets are also rich in omega-3 fatty acids like those found in salmon, walnuts, chia seeds, shrimp, and soybean oil. These special fats can help protect the outer lining of nervous tissue and protect it from damage due to exposure to inflammatory chemicals.
When you eat too much sugar and carbohydrates, and you blood glucose becomes elevated, the hormone insulin will be released. With Alzheimer’s disease, large amounts of beta-amyloid plaques are present, which can prevent brain cells from functioning and receiving insulin signals properly. Plaques and neurofibrillary tangles can be a result of a type of brain insulin resistance, which means the brain cells do not understand and do not fully receive the message that insulin sends. This means they are less likely to get the nutrients and protection from oxidative stress that they need to survive.
The Brain and Exercise
If you are talking about the brain, exercise and the chemicals that are secreted after exercising play a huge role in brain health. A recent study showed that just 12 weeks of physical activity older adults who had mild dementia was beneficial to both brain function and physical ability, as well as overall quality of life.
Leisure activities also may prove to be a non-medication treatment for improving brain function – maybe as much as structured exercise in some people. Examples of leisure activities include walking, swimming, household tasks, playing games or puzzles, and enjoying company with friends – which can all help ward off dementia.
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