March is Nutrition Month, an apt time to note that optimizing brain health with nutrition, supplements and lifestyle is critical to our success.
Our brain weighs roughly three pounds, but receives about 20 percent of the blood flow and nutrients provided via the circulatory system to the entire body.
Add these six prevention-focused practices to your life to minimize the chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease and other brain disorders:
Follow a Mediterranean Diet
Everything we eat and drink affects our brain health. The Mediterranean diet significantly lowers risks of Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. This plant-based diet focuses on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and herbs every day. Healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts, legumes, and seafood are in the plan.
Cutting out most or all meats (processed meats like bacon, pepperoni and hot dogs are the riskiest), fried foods, fast-foods, sugar sweetened beverages, and treats like ice cream are part of the plan.
Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables are crucial for Alzheimer’s prevention and fighting cell damage. The best antioxidants are vitamin C (red berries and lemons), vitamin E (seeds and dark-colored fruit), carotenoids (spinach and broccoli), flavonoids (blueberries and dark chocolate) and selenium (fish and Brazil nuts).
Vitamin D from the sun, absorbed through the skin, is also considered part of this group. Nutrition experts recommend eating fruits and vegetables in a rainbow of colors, with the boldest colors best at fighting disease and preventing long-term damage to cells.
Protect vascular health
Part of Alzheimer’s prevention is being aware of your blood vessel (vascular) health and addressing any risks with your doctor’s help. Quit tobacco if you smoke and follow a realistic weight loss program if you’re overweight. It means being aware of your blood pressure numbers, your cholesterol levels and whether you have diabetes.
Move your body
I recommend exercising three to four days each week for 30 minutes at a time. Moderately vigorous aerobic exercise, enough to make you sweat, provides the most significant health benefits for Alzheimer’s prevention. Brisk walking, bicycling, dancing, swimming, running, tennis and yard work are great ways to achieve this aerobic activity level.
Have a sleep routine
Growing evidence shows that seven to eight hours of sleep each night is essential for healthy brain function. Taking steps to wind down in the evening and establish a sleep routine can help. Dimming lights, turning off electronics and choosing quieter activities can help ease you into a bedtime state of mind.
Fortify your diet with supplements
Most people don’t get the enough brain nutrients in their diet, so supplementing for brain health is recommended. A local entrepreneur has brought a manufacturer of brain supplements to the area.
Memory Health, a natural formula, has carotenoids (Lutein, Zeaxanthin and Meso-Zeaxanthin), Omega-3s (DHA and EPA) and Vitamin E to protect the brain from daily stress.
The nutrients in Memory Health have been tested in double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials. It’s the only supplement with a U.S. patent for the prevention and treatment of neurodegenerative disease. It’s been clinically proven to improve cognitive functions, memory, sight, focus, clarity and mood.
You can’t get these ingredients from food alone. Nutrition and the other steps listed here are the key to protecting your future brain health, but diet alone can’t provide enough of the nutrients the brain needs.