It starts with something small such as losing your keys and later finding them in the freezer. But in time it gets worse. Maybe you get lost on the way home from work, a route you’ve driven hundreds of times before. Or you forget the name of a friend from church you’ve known for 15 years.
You can’t help but wonder, “Is it Alzheimer’s?”
And frankly, you’re right to be concerned. Because there are few things more devastating than sliding into dementia, and eventually losing all memory of who you are to Alzheimer’s.
What if we told you that you’re likely making some common mistakes right now that could DOUBLE your risk for dementia down the road?
It’s true. But the good news is you can begin to reverse that risk by making a few simple changes starting today.
Mistake #1 – Eating too many carbs:
Carbohydrates get a bad rap, but the truth is they help provide our body with the energy it needs to function. . However the typical Western diet is packed with far too many carbs, including a ton of simple junk sugars that harm our health. And unfortunately loading up on too many carbs… no matter the source… could spell disaster for your brain.
In a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, researchers reported that participants who indulged in a lot of carbohydrates were more likely to suffer from dementia, while the folks who chowed down on fat and protein instead were less likely to have memory issues. Slash your carbs and slash your risk for dementia.
Mistake #2- Taking the wrong medications:
You may not be familiar with the term anticholinergic, but chances are you’ll recognize some of the brand names of these drugs such as Advil PM, Tylenol PM and Benadryl. Studies have revealed that anticholinergics are associated with memory and brain issues.
In a major study out of the University of Washington, more people who took these types of drugs developed dementia. And in a study published in the journal JAMA Neurology researchers revealed that the drugs are linked to brain atrophy, dysfunction and decline.
As for heartburn meds, that little purple pill isn’t doing your brain any favors either. In a ground-breaking study, folks who took proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) were found to be 40 percent more likely to develop dementia than folks who avoided the drugs. And even occasional users may be at risk because filling a prescription once every three months was enough to cause a dementia spike.
Cut back on your use of anticholinergic drugs and you’ll be cutting back on your risk of developing dementia.
Still need some pain relief to help you sleep? Click here for a variety of natural pain-relieving options. Or if it’s allergies that have got you feeling down you’ll find some tips on natural allergy relief here. And if heartburn is haunting you click here for the inside scoop on some soothing drug-free relief.
Mistake #3 – Not getting enough sleep:
If you burn the candle at both ends, sacrificing shuteye to squeeze more time out of your day, you could be putting your brain at risk. According to researchers at UC Berkeley’s Sleep and Neuroimaging Lab, not getting enough sleep could be allowing beta-amyloid, a protein that’s linked to Alzheimer’s disease, more access to your brain.
Beta-amyloid appears to build up in the brains of folks who don’t get enough sleep. Commit to getting eight hours of quality shuteye a night to drive down your risk of Alzheimer’s. Trouble sleeping? Click here to learn about some natural insomnia solutions that can have you sleeping like a baby,
Mistake #4 – Staying out of the sun:
Baking yourself in the sun like a Thanksgiving turkey is never a good idea, but the mainstream media has folks so scared of sunlight that we’re practically turning into a bunch of vampires. Completely avoiding the sun deprives you of vital vitamin D. That’s a bad thing for a bunch of reasons including the impact it could be having on your brain.
Folks with low levels of vitamin D are far more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. In fact, in one study folks with the lowest D levels were found to be twice as likely to develop dementia as folks with the highest levels of the vitamin. Spend some sunscreen-free time out in the sun everyday with your head and arms exposed.
In the cooler months you might want to consider taking a supplement too. Healthier Talk contributor Dr. Allan Spreen, typically recommends 2,000 IUs of vitamin D3 daily, taken with a meal that contains fat to maximize its absorption.
Mistake #5 – Not getting enough exercise:
Exercise increases blood flow, sending oxygen and nutrients everywhere in your body including your brain. Research shows that regular exercise can reduce your risk for dementia by increasing connections in your brain, improving cognition, helping to keep your brain flexible and reducing brain shrinkage. Commit to getting a mix of both aerobic and weight-bearing exercise at least three days a week to keep your brain firing on all cylinders. Click here for some nearly effortless ways to squeeze in some exercise.
Don’t let these 5 brain-draining mistakes raise your dementia risk. Commit to making a few changes starting today to save your brain, and your precious memories.