While there currently is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease — the most common type of dementia — there are healthy steps a person can take to reduce their risk or possibly prevent it.
Jessica Caldwell, PhD, a Las Vegas-based neuropsychologist with Cleveland Clinic, shared her top tips for keeping Alzheimer’s at bay.
She has three.
1. Incorporate exercise into daily routines
Caldwell first recommends incorporating exercise into one’s daily routine.
“The reason exercise is so important is that it multitasks,” Caldwell said in commentary provided by Cleveland Clinic.
“First and foremost, when you exercise, a chemical is released in your brain immediately and over the long term that supports your memory system in the brain.”
Exercise can also help sharpen the ability to grow new neural pathways and learn new things, the doctor added.
Studies have shown that resistance training and physical exercise can decrease the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which are proteins that build up in the brain and lead to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“In addition, exercise can aid in reducing stress hormones and inflammation in the body – both of which, if chronic, can cause problems for your memory system and your Alzheimer’s disease risk,” Caldwell said.
Any kind of moderate-intensity exercise, like a brisk walk, will provide benefits, Caldwell said. Strive for a goal of 150 minutes per week, she recommends.
2. Get enough sleep
The doctor’s second tip for preventing Alzheimer’s disease is to get enough sleep — ideally between seven and eight continuous hours per night.
If you don’t get proper sleep, it could impact your memory the next day, Caldwell warned.
“When we sleep, during certain stages of our sleep and not others, our brain actually clears debris,” she said.
“One of the types of debris our brain clears is amyloid, the protein that builds up in unhelpful and pathological ways when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease.”
3. Eat well
Finally, Caldwell recommends adopting a Mediterranean diet, which focuses on eating healthy fats, whole foods, leafy greens, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, and herbs and spices.
“Research has shown this kind of diet is good for your brain and heart health,” she said.
In March, researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, analyzed the autopsy results of 581 participants of the Rush Memory and Aging Project.
The participants had provided their complete dietary information at the start of the study.
As Fox News Digital reported in March, those who followed a Mediterranean diet — particularly eating green, leafy vegetables — showed fewer signs of Alzheimer’s in their brain tissue.
There are currently more than six million Americans living with Alzheimer’s in the U.S., according to the Alzheimer’s Association.
That number is expected to grow to nearly 13 million by 2050.