Last year, Timothy R. Jennings, MD., released his latest book, The Aging Brain: Proven Steps to Prevent Dementia and Sharpen Your Mind. While the title promises ways to prevent Alzheimer’s and other dementias, the formula is surprisingly simple:
And he says that whatever stage you are in life, to start now. “People can do a lot to protect their brains from dementia. And it’s not too late to get started,” he told the Deseret News in December.
In that interview, he said that people who have mild cognitive symptoms, who start exercise, move to a whole food, plant-based diet, manage stress and get “normal” sleep. He promised that “if they do all those things, those people will not progress to dementia” and skirt Alzheimer’s disease and at worst, they may maintain brain health.” Some of them even improve,” he reported.
Diet and Nutrition
Healthy food choices, he says makes a big difference in arresting Alzheimer’s
High temperature frying and roasting can bind glucose to molecules. This leads to them becoming oxidizers, which damage tissues and increases aging. “Fried foods, seared foods, grilled foods …produces those molecules and your body will absorb 30 percent of whatever the load is. Diets high in those types of oxidizing foods accelerate aging.”
Three foods he recommends are oily fish, walnuts and 100 percent pomegranate juice—”pomegranate
While steam and pressure cooking are fine, microwaving foods could “disrupt important vitamins and nutrients that you would otherwise get. Sometimes you are cooking in certain plastics and other things that might be producing different molecules you don’t want.”
He said that as we sleep, “the neurons of our brain expel the byproducts of metabolism to be cleared out of the brain.” Sadly, he reported that thirty percent of us are sleep-deprived and “chronic sleep deprivation — night in, night out …increases our risk of dementia as we age.”
Explaining the stages of sleep, he said that going to bed at a set time and getting up eight hours later, does not make sleep normal. In normal sleep, “you go into a light stage followed by deep slow wave sleep where your heart rate slows down, your blood pressure falls, your body temperature falls. That’s followed by REM rapid eye movement sleep, where you do all your dreaming. Then you wake up, go back into another light stage, deep sleep, REM cycle and this happens all night. From the time you enter the light stage until you exit the REM is anywhere from 70 minutes to 120 minutes, so if you are waking up every hour or two hours over the night but you’re able to get back to sleep, that’s normal.” And normal sleep helps curb or prevent
He says that we need “five of those cycles a night, seven-and-a-half or eight hours sleep.” Normal sleep does not require medication. “When people turn to medications, almost all of them cause memory problems and interfere with the normal sleep architecture. Using medication, even over-the-counter medication, usually makes things worse.”
For stress management, he suggests, “learning how to unwind and relax. A lot of things correlate: healthy families, learning how to resolve conflict well and not hold grudges, how to forgive people who have done you wrong, weekly
Most people never take times to rest, working five days, returning home to do housework and yard work. He says “data shows if you take one day a week off where you actually decompress, where you unwind with family, maybe go to church or out in nature, that has a remarkable, remarkable inflammatory-lowering cascade. It turns off your amygdala, it alters gene expression in healthy ways and promotes longevity”
A key to preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia “is believing in a benevolent God who is compassionate, forgiving, gracious and ‘for’ you, to heal and protect you.” Next best, you don’t believe in God but have a “compassionate humanistic worldview where you are altruistic and care for others. ” The
When it comes to exercise, he recommends walking, but it has to be something you enjoy, or it will “kick up inflammatory cascades.”
When the patient cannot walk, he suggests getting help from a physical therapist or trainer. “Get them into a pool of water, do something with their arms with weights or other types of activities that their bodies can handle. Very few can’t do something,” he said.
Exercise to increase blood flow to the brain, he says, delivers both oxygen and nutrients. “It turns on all the proteins in the brain that stimulate the brain’s new growth, so you get new connectivity, new neuronal growth.” Exercise, he says helps to reduce insulin resistance. “That’s critical to brain health. Not only does it reduce diabetes type 2 issues, but in the brain, insulin is essential for clearing amyloid. People who have insulin resistance in the brain have higher rates. Exercise helps reduce the buildup of amyloid by resensitizing the insulin receptors.”
Become a life-long learner striving to always learn new things. “Not word puzzles, which are
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