Tips For Starting And Sticking With An Exercise Plan
If youve been inactive for a while, starting an exercise program can be intimidating. But remember: a little exercise is better than none. In fact, adding just modest amounts of physical activity to your weekly routine can have a profound effect on your health.
Choose activities you enjoy and start smalla 10-minute walk a few times a day, for exampleand allow yourself to gradually build up your momentum and self-confidence.
Use Whole Fruit To Sweeten Foods
Whole fruit is the best possible choice when it comes to sweetening your foods. Whole fruit contains fructose, but because it is packaged with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, it is metabolized differently than added sugars. Using fruit, you can sweeten your foods while also increasing your intake of disease fighting nutrients. For example, rather than choosing sugar laden fruit flavored yogurts , choose the plain variety and add your own berries or other fruit for flavor. For those already battling insulin resistance, its best to choose low glycemic fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries until you are insulin sensitive.
The Connection Between Alzheimer’s And Diabetes
Studies show the risk of developing Alzheimers disease among people with diabetes is 65% higher than that of those without diabetes. With such a strong link, research has focused on explaining the connection between the two diseases.
In type 1 diabetes, which is an autoimmune disease, the cells that produce insulin, called beta cells, are attacked by the body’s immune system, causing glucose to build up to high levels in the bloodstream.
Type 2 diabetes occurs when insulin becomes less sensitive to glucose and therefore less efficient at removing it from the bloodstream, allowing it to build up rather than being taken into the cells to be used for energy.
In Alzheimer’s disease, it appears a similar problem of insulin resistance occurs, but rather than affecting the body as a whole, the effects are localized in the brain.
In studies of people’s brains after death, researchers have noted the brains of those who had Alzheimer’s disease but did not have type 1 or type 2 diabetes showed many of the same abnormalities as the brains of those with diabetes, including low levels of insulin in the brain. It was this finding that led to the theory that Alzheimer’s is a brain-specific type of diabetes”type 3 diabetes.”
Furthermore, scientists determined that as insulin functioning in the brain worsens, not only does cognitive ability decline, the size and structure of the brain also deteriorateall of which normally occur as Alzheimer’s disease progresses.
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Too Much Sugar Causes Cognitive Declination
Besides killing the brain cells, too much sugar in the brain can also cause slowed cognitive function and even memory and attention problems for seniors.
Furthermore, it weakens and damages the blood vessels, which again leads to a declining mental capacity. And you know all too well where this destructive road leadsgradual development of dementia and Alzheimers disease.
Additionally, weakened blood vessels can cause you to experience ministrokes in the brain, leading to various kinds of dementia.
Sugar Damages Brain Structure And Function
Research published in 2013 showed that sugar and other carbohydrates can disrupt your brain function even if youre not diabetic or have any signs of dementia. Here, short- and long-term glucose markers were evaluated in healthy, nondiabetic, nondemented seniors. Memory tests and brain imaging were also used to assess brain function and the actual structure of their hippocampus.
The findings revealed that the higher the two blood glucose measures, the smaller the hippocampus, the more compromised its structure, and the worse the individuals memory was. According to the authors, the structural changes in the hippocampus alone can partially account for the statistical link we see between glucose and memory, as your hippocampus is involved with the formation, organization and storage of memories.
The results suggest glucose directly contributes to atrophy of the hippocampus, which means that even if youre not insulin resistant or diabetic, excess sugar can still hamper your memory. The authors suggest that strategies aimed at lowering glucose levels even in the normal range may beneficially influence cognition in the older population.
A similar study published in 2014 found that Type 2 diabetics lose more gray matter with age than expected, and this brain atrophy also helps explain why diabetics have a higher risk for dementia, and have earlier onset of dementia than nondiabetics.
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Dementia And Sugar Cravings: How Sweet Treats May Be Destroying Your Brain
Many people have heard of different types of diets, with each one making a more outlandish claim than the last. Perhaps you have read of some of these in the aisles of convenience markets or grocery stores, with glamorous models on the front and large text proclaiming tremendous differences in weeks. Sadly, this is not the case.
However, a recent Harvard study has found that reducing the sugar in your diet can directly lead to reducing your blood sugar levels, which lowers your chance of developing dementia. Obviously, your age and the genetics you have been born with are uncontrollable factors, but what are some things that you can change? Continue reading to find out how to make yourself less susceptible to developing dementia, and if sugar can make dementia more likely or worse.
Alzheimers Diet: 16 Foods To Fight Dementia + What To Avoid
The best Alzheimers diet is Dr. Dale Bredesens KetoFLEX 12/3 diet. This slightly-flexible ketogenic diet can lower your risk of developing Alzheimers disease or dementia, especially in the earliest stages of cognitive decline.
This revolutionary diet also encourages 12-hour fasting periods so the body has more time to repair cell damage. Make sure to not eat within 3 hours of going to bed either.
By eating foods such as green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts, and even an occasional glass of red wine, you can reduce your chances of developing Alzheimers.
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Foods With A Lot Of Trans Fats
Transfats refer to a kind of unsaturated fat that has harmful effects on brain health. The ones that occur naturally in animal products are not the problem. The issue lies with the industrially manufactured Trans fats called hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Research shows that taking too much of these oils leads to poorer memory, cognitive decline, lower brain volume, and risk of dementia.
Pillar #: Quality Sleep
There are a number of links between poor sleep patterns and the development of Alzheimers and dementia. Some studies have emphasized the importance of quality sleep for flushing out toxins in the brain. Others have linked poor sleep to higher levels of beta-amyloid in the brain, a sticky protein that can further disrupt the deep sleep necessary for memory formation.
If nightly sleep deprivation is slowing your thinking and or affecting your mood, you may be at greater risk of developing or deteriorating symptoms of Alzheimers disease. To help improve your sleep:
Establish a regular sleep schedule. Going to bed and getting up at the same time reinforces your natural circadian rhythms. Your brains clock responds to regularity.
Set the mood. Reserve your bed for sleep and sex, and ban television and computers from the bedroom .
Create a relaxing bedtime ritual. Take a hot bath, do some light stretches, listen to relaxing music, or dim the lights. As it becomes habit, your nightly ritual will send a powerful signal to your brain that its time for deep restorative sleep.
Quiet your inner chatter. When stress, anxiety, or worrying keeps you awake, get out of bed. Try reading or relaxing in another room for twenty minutes then hop back in.
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Prevent Or Delay Dementia
The evidence does start to add updiets high in sugar and fat are likely bad for both the brain and the body. But while this study corresponds with other evidence that shows diet can affect brain health, it was conducted on mice, not people. More research is needed to see if the same findings hold true in humans.
This study was published in Physiological Reports.
How To Reduce Adverse Effects Of Sugar And Dementia
It is almost IMPOSSIBLE to cut off sugar in your diet, seeing that most fruits are loaded with sugar. This, however, does not mean that you should not try and limit the amount of sugar that goes into your system.
There are several steps you can take to prevent getting dementia because of too much sugar like:
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High Blood Sugar Levels May Cause Brain Inflammation
Research published in 2016 found evidence that consuming excess sugar can cause inflammation in the body and brain.
This happens when theres too much sugar in the body, forcing some of it to turn into fat. These fats attached to the vital organs of your body will then release inflammatory protein, which leads to inflammation in the body and brain, leading to memory problems.
Skip The Artificial Sweeteners
For many looking to cut sugar from their diet, opting for an artificial or non-nutritive sweetener seems like a logical alternative. However, these sweeteners can contribute to dysbiosis, an imbalance in the microbial composition of the gut. Dysbiosis itself can contribute to inflammation and other issues, so its best to avoid most artificial and non-nutritive sweeteners.
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How Can I Prevent Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance, although it may sound scary, can actually be easily prevented. Both daily physical activity and changing up your eating habits drastically reverse the effects of insulin resistance, which will help your body revert to a natural state and lower your blood sugar levels to the appropriate amount. A recent National Institutes of Health-funded research project, the Diabetes Prevention Program , revealed that for people who are at an elevated risk of contracting diabetes, losing just 5 to 7 percent of their initial starting weight leads to a reduced chance of developing the disease at all.
Thus, by taking small steps such as walking a couple of miles every day, or by reducing the amount of sugary food and beverages you consume, you are able to help reduce the chance of developing dementia and diabetes, all while feeling healthier, more confident, and more comfortable in your own skin. The first step to combating sugar-induced dementia must be to evaluate your lifestyle and find where you can afford to reduce sugar intake and start battling sugar cravings to reduce your chances of dementia.
Eating Sugar Leads To Addiction
Experts have established that excess sugar in the brain can impair both cognitive skills as well as self-control. Many people experience cravings after consuming a little sugar.
Sugar is known to have a drug-like effect on the brains reward center. Scientists propose that sweet, salty, and fatty foods can produce addiction effects in the brain.
This results in overeating, loss of self-control, and CONSEQUENTLY weight gain.
This drive, on the other hand, can lead to excess amounts of sugar in the brain, which is a dementia risk factor.
Too much sugar in the brain is harmful as it can result in deficits in attention, memory, and slow cognitive function.
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Whats Good For Your Heart Is Good For Your Brain
Dr. Marc Agronin, Alzheimers researcher and author of The Dementia Caregiver, explained that a basic rule of thumb is that whats good for your heart is good for your brain.
What we eat over our lifetime has a dramatic impact on our health and risk for many diseases, including dementia, said Agronin.
He said a diet weighted toward healthy foods can help. These foods include:
- olive and nut oils
- whole grains and legumes
- less highly processed sugars and red meats
Eating healthy is essential for controlling weight, glucose, and cholesterol levels which are key risk factors for both cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health.
According to Lonsdorf, Research on overall diet is still in early stages, however, the following are associated with lower risk: Mediterranean diet, DASH diet , the MIND diet , and the Anti-inflammatory diet.
Pillar #: Regular Exercise
According to the Alzheimers Research and Prevention Foundation, regular physical exercise can reduce your risk of developing Alzheimers disease by up to 50 percent. Whats more, exercise can also slow further deterioration in those who have already started to develop cognitive problems. Exercise protects against Alzheimers and other types of dementia by stimulating the brains ability to maintain old connections as well as make new ones.
Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. The ideal plan involves a combination of cardio exercise and strength training. Good activities for beginners include walking and swimming.
Build muscle to pump up your brain. Moderate levels of weight and resistance training not only increase muscle mass, they help you maintain brain health. For those over 65, adding 2-3 strength sessions to your weekly routine may cut your risk of Alzheimers in half.
Include balance and coordination exercises. Head injuries from falls are an increasing risk as you age, which in turn increase your risk for Alzheimers disease and dementia. As well as protecting your head when you exercise , balance and coordination exercises can help you stay agile and avoid spills. Try yoga, Tai Chi, or exercises using balance balls.
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Alzheimers And Low Blood Sugar In Diabetes May Trigger A Vicious Cycle
UC San Francisco Researcher Urges Caution on Use of Certain Diabetes Drugs in Dementia Patients
A new UC San Francisco-led study looks at the close link between diabetes and dementia, which can create a vicious cycle.
Diabetes-associated episodes of low blood sugar may increase the risk of developing dementia, while having dementia or even milder forms of cognitive impairment may increase the risk of experiencing low blood sugar, according to the study published online Monday inJAMA Internal Medicine.
Researchers analyzed data from 783 diabetic participants and found that hospitalization for severe hypoglycemia among the diabetic, elderly participants in the study was associated with a doubled risk of developing dementia later. Similarly, study participants with dementia were twice as likely to experience a severe hypoglycemic event.
The study results suggest some patients risk entering a downward spiral in which hypoglycemia and cognitive impairment fuel one another, leading to worse health, said Kristine Yaffe, MD, senior author and principal investigator for the study, and a UCSF professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology based at the San Francisco Veterans Affair Medical Center.
Older patients with diabetes may be especially vulnerable to a vicious cycle in which poor diabetes management may lead to cognitive decline and then to even worse diabetes management, she said.
The Connection Between Alzheimers And Diabetes
Weve known for some time that theres some sort of a connection between Alzheimers disease and diabetes. If you have diabetes, you have a much greater risk of getting Alzheimers disease.
Scientists, though, caution that we still need to recognize that they are two distinct diseases: There are people with diabetes who dont have Alzheimers disease and vice-versa. While the diseases are related, theyre not the same disease.
The big question that remains about sugars connection to Alzheimers disease is what causes insulin in the brain to drop in the first place. If the drop in brain insulin mimics the same drop in people with diabetes, then the amount of sugar were all eating is suspect.
Insulin regulates sugar throughout the body and our pancreas can get burned out by always trying to keep up with the large amount of sugar most of us eat. The same may be true of the brain.
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Pillar #: Social Engagement
Human beings are highly social creatures. We dont thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. Staying socially engaged may even protect against symptoms of Alzheimers disease and dementia in later life, so make developing and maintaining a strong network of friends a priority.
You dont need to be a social butterfly or the life of the party, but you do need to regularly connect face-to-face with someone who cares about you and makes you feel heard. While many of us become more isolated as we get older, its never too late to meet others and develop new friendships:
- Join a club or social group.
- Visit your local community center or senior center.
- Take group classes .
- Get to know your neighbors.
- Make a weekly date with friends.
- Get out .
Pillar #: Mental Stimulation
Its important to continue learning new things and challenging your brain throughout life. Whether youre looking to prevent the onset of dementia or delay its progression, when it comes to your brain the key is to use it or lose it. In the groundbreaking NIH ACTIVE study, older adults who received as few as 10 sessions of mental training not only improved their cognitive functioning in daily activities in the months after the training, but continued to show long-lasting improvements 10 years later.
Activities involving multiple tasks or requiring communication, interaction, and organization offer the greatest benefits. Set aside time each day to stimulate your brain:
Learn something new. Study a foreign language, practice a musical instrument, or learn to paint or sew. One of the best ways to take up a new hobby is to sign up for a class and then schedule regular times for practicing. The greater the novelty, complexity, and challenge, the greater the benefit.
Raise the bar for an existing activity. If youre not keen on learning something new, you can still challenge your brain by increasing your skills and knowledge of something you already do. For example, if you can play the piano and dont want to learn a new instrument, commit to learning a new piece of music or improving how well you play your favorite piece.
Follow the road less traveled. Take a new route or eat with your non-dominant hand. Vary your habits regularly to create new brain pathways.
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