Many of us are worried about memory loss and for good reason. 98% of those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease are over the age of 65. Scientists and researchers, while working tirelessly to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, have also determined that lifestyle interventions applied therapeutically, are in fact improving memory and slowing down decline.
Exercise, Mediterranean Diet, stress management, good sleep habits and social engagement are known to reduce risk associated with Alzheimer’s and dementia while increasing protective factors.
So how are lifestyle interventions used therapeutically? For this article I’m focusing on diabetes type 2. Diabetes is the second most important risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. High insulin and high glucose is toxic to the brain.
When you eat foods with a high glycemic index such as sugars, starchy food and baked goods, your body pours out large amounts of insulin to keep glucose levels in check.
- Cells become insensitive to the constant flood of insulin leading to insulin resistance and contributes to diabetes type 2.
- Insulin also supports the survival of neurons. Chronically high insulin levels compromise survival.
- Insulin degrading enzyme IDE then degrades excess insulin so you don’t become hypoglycemic. IDE also contributes to degrading beta amyloid, one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. However, when tied up degrading insulin, it isn’t degrading beta amyloid.
- Exercise: keeps glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol in check
- Mediterranean Diet: rich in vegetables, whole grains and olive oil, enable you to better manage diabetes without medications
- Stress: Managing stress supports normal blood sugar levels.
- Sleep: Getting 7-8 hours of sleep at night help keep glucose levels in check.
It is important to keep your hemoglobin A1-C below 5.3 for optimal brain health.
As of 2012, about one-half of all adults had one or more chronic health conditions. Physical activity and diet have been identified as two modifiable risk factors that may impact onset or progression of disease.