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Day 21 - How Healthy Is Your Brain?


Every day I look for subjects to discuss in my blog posts and almost always when I look for something, it comes to me. Today, I watched a video from Dr. Daniel Amen, who is one of the leading experts in brain health. Some of what he has to say about Alzheimer's disease is very startling.

There are many contributing factors that you may find surprising. There also some horrifying facts about it you should be aware of. Here are just a few of those facts:

  • the number of people impacted by Alzheimer's is expected to quadruple by the year 2050
  • there is no expectation of a cure in the near future
  • it affects 50% of people 85 years old and older...50%!!!
  • it starts decades before any symptoms appear

Some of the risk factors include:

  • depression
    • one of the greatest killers of our time
    • affects 50 million Americans
    • it has increased by 400% since 1987
    • 23% of women are taking anti-depressants
    • in women, it doubles the risk of developing Alzheimer's
    • in men, it quadruples the risk
  • obesity
    • serious national health crisis
    • 2/3 of Americans are overweight
    • 1/3 of Americans are obese
    • it increases inflammation
    • it significantly increases the risk for many diseases including dementia
    • dozens of studies show that as weight increases, brain function decreases
  • poor decisions
    • drug and alcohol abuse
  • brain injury
  • inactivity
  • poor diet
    • high intake of omega-6 fatty acids leads to high levels of inflammation
    • low intake of omega-3 fatty acids
  • sleep disorders
    • apnea
    • insomnia
    • sleep deprivation
  • nicotine
  • excessive caffeine
  • diabetes
  • hypertension
  • deficiency in several levels
    • vitamin D
    • estrogen
    • progesterone
    • testosterone in both men and women
    • low thyroid hormone
  • increase in risk markers
    • C reactive protein - a marker for systemic inflammation
    • high thyroid hormone levels
  • chronic stress
  • environmental toxins
  • infections
  • attention deficit disorder
  • unhealthy peer group - you are the combination of the people you spend the most time with
    • if your peers have unhealthy habits, you are likely to have them also

There are steps you can take to protect your brain health. Here are some of them:

  • have appropriate levels of anxiety - be cautious in life but don't obsess
  • continuously learn new information
  • exercise
    • walking briskly 30 minutes per day
    • weight bearing - this is good for bone health also
    • dancing - learning dance steps helps to keep the brain engaged and is great exercise
  • excellent nutrition
    • low glycemic
    • high in good fats
    • high fiber
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • keep healthy company
  • get 7-8 hours of sleep per night
  • reduce negative thinking
  • meditate
  • learn from mistakes so you don't keep repeating behaviors that don't serve you

This information is very valuable because as we live longer lives and stay in the workforce longer, we need to keep our brains healthy and strong just like we want our bodies to be healthy and strong. Following these guidelines will take you a long way to maintaining your healthy brain.

As a health coach, I work with women who are facing serious health challenges like heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes or who have been diagnosed as having a precursor to a serious health issue such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high blood sugar. I help them make food and lifestyle changes so they can get healthy, live longer and enjoy a fuller, happier, more energetic life. If you would like to have a free consultation about the health challenges you have and the improvements you would like to see in your health, click here to schedule a no strings attached call.

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