By Sara Novak, TreeHugger
A holistically healthy lifestyle marked by ample exercise and a healthy whole foods diet means less risk of Alzheimer’s. Basically, the way you treat your body has a lot to do with your mind. New research links activity level, blood pressure, weight, and smoking to Alzheimer’s, according to the Washington Times. And prevention is crucial considering that there is yet no cure to this agonizing disease.
Currently Alzheimer’s impacts 35 million people around the world and for the most part people feel helpless in preventing it. But a new study points to decisions we make during our lives as an indicator of the disease later in life.
“We can do something about this,” Dr. Ronald Petersen, a Mayo Clinic dementia specialist who had no role in the study told the Washington Times. A common misconception is that you’re “dealt a deck of cards at birth,” he said, but “people need not just sit back and watch this unfold.”
A whole foods diet loaded with fruits and vegetables along with exercise, avoiding smoking, and weight management reduce your changes of the disease significantly.
According to the Washington Times:
The study used a mathematical model to estimate the impact of top modifiable risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: smoking, depression, low education, diabetes, too little exercise, and obesity and high blood pressure in mid-life.
Education had the biggest impact on the disorder worldwide because this accounts for individuals that don’t use cognitive function as often and it was also linked to poor nutrition. Smoking was the second highest risk factor worldwide. In the US, where education rates are higher, a sedentary lifestyle and mid-life depression were the biggest risk factors.
According to Alzheimer’s Prevention, the ideal prevention diet includes 20 percent healthy fats including extra virgin olive oil, avocado, and flax seed oil and whole foods including soy, fish, and other lean proteins as well as a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, and legumes. And then there’s the brain superfoods including blueberries, spinach, and seaweed.
This isn’t very far from a locally minded plant-based diet. Hit the farmers’ market and load up on the freshest, most antioxidant laden produce, cook everything with good fats (listed above), and walk to get to all your destinations. It’s low impact on the planet and studies like this prove your risks of disease later down the line decline.
Image credit: bravenewtraveler / Flickr