With no effective cure in sight for Alzheimer’s, it’s vital we all – men and women – do everything we can to reduce our risk of developing this disease. When I attended a talk by Dean and Ayesha Sherzai, authors of The Alzheimer’s Solution, they spelled out how best to take care of our brains using their handy mnemonic, NEURO:
Nutrition: the Sherzais believe that a whole food plant-based diet is best for brain health, and animal fats increase inflammation. They describe sugar as a poison of the 21stCentury.
Exercise: they recommend strenuous exercise for 30mins, 3-4 times a week. Being sedentary raises the risk of Alzheimer’s as much as genetic factors, so keep moving!
Unwind: stress damages the brain’s hippocampus and frontal cortex. Don’t multi-task! Learn to be present for every action. Prioritise. Meditate: it reduces stress hormones in the brain. One minute of mindfulness a day is enough to make a difference.
Restorative Sleep: sleep is the most important time of your day. It allows for memory consolidation and removal of toxic by-products, like amyloid, which build up in the brain.
Optimise Cognitive Activity: it’s got to be more than Sudoku! We should all live at the overlap of complex, purpose and challenge. This means something multi-dimensional like learning to dance, mastering a new language, leading a group or writing a book.