We’re all used to hearing about how exercise and a balanced diet help keep our hearts healthy. But a healthy lifestyle is also essential for looking after your brain. Here we explore some tips that could reduce your chances of developing Alzheimer’s in later life.
Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain, causing a range of symptoms such as memory loss, difficulty concentrating and becoming confused and disorientated. Although no main cause has been found, people who keep their blood pressure, cholesterol and weight in check are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s as they get older.
Just as with a range of other illnesses, there are a few simple things you can do to lower your Alzheimer’s risk and keep happy and healthy for years to come.
1. Regular exercise
Physical activity is so important for keeping your whole body in shape. Taking up an exercise that gets your heart pumping boosts blood flow to the brain, improving the circulation of oxygen and essential nutrients to our brain tissue. It also reduces other Alzheimer’s risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol.
Exercise is a great way to lift your mood too – particularly if you make it a social activity by enjoying a walk with a friend, or going to a group class. If you’re stuck for ideas, check out our tips on different ways to keep fit.
2. Learning something new
A number of studies have suggested that keeping in touch with friends and family and staying mentally active as we age could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. This could range from testing yourself with puzzles and quizzes to taking up a new hobby, or even learning a new language. Stimulating the mind in this way helps improve and strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain.
3. A balanced diet packed full of wholesome food
From beetroots to blueberries, we often hear about ‘superfoods’ that are thought to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s. While these foods are good for you, they shouldn’t be seen as ‘miracle’ ingredients that can balance out an otherwise unhealthy diet. Instead, they should form part of a healthy diet that’s low in salt, sugar and saturated fats and high in fruit and vegetables.
Here are some of the best foods to include in your diet – and where you can find them in the Oakhouse range:
- Oily fish and lean meats
While there’s no harm in indulging in comfort food and old favourites like Roast Beef Dinner and Sausages and Mash every now and again, you should try and make sure at least a couple of portions of meat you eat each week are lower in fat, such as chicken and turkey.
For at least 1-2 meals a week, choose a fish dish, such as tuna, salmon or mackerel. Oily fish is packed with Omega 3 – an essential fatty acid that the brain needs to function properly.
Green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli are full of important vitamins and antioxidants that help our cells repair themselves. You'll find some great vegetable accompaniments in our Vegetarian range.
Unsalted nuts make a healthier snack than crisps or cakes. They release energy slowly and contain lots of Omega 3 and vitamin E, which helps keep your brain tissue healthy.
Everyone knows the old saying, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away’. So make sure your diet contains plenty of fruit – from apples and oranges to anti-oxidant packed berries. Add some to your breakfast cereal in the morning, or treat yourself to a fruity dessert.
If you or someone you care for suffers from dementia, our home delivered ready meals make it simple to enjoy tasty, wholesome meals at home. And if you’re a carer that means more time to spend on the important job of caring. Our grocery service also means you can stock up on store cupboard essentials at the same time.
If you’re concerned about Alzheimer’s disease, you could get in touch with the Alzheimer’s Society. Their website has plenty of information and advice about symptoms, diagnosis and living with Alzheimer’s – or caring for a loved one with the disease.