Fore go those fries!
High blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes in middle age play a huge role in the later risk for dementia, a four-decade-long study of close to 10,000 Americans now reports. Elevated total cholesterol (240 milligrams per deciliter) raises the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) 66 percent. Even people with borderline to moderately high cholesterol levels have significantly higher likelihood of dementia later in life.
Smoking ups the odds for Alzheimer’s to 70 percent. Anyone with high blood pressure at 40 is 60 percent more likely to develop dementia, and middle-aged adults with diabetes have twice the risk as healthy people their age.
Currently more than five million Americans suffer from AD, an incurable brain disorder that’s probably most people’s greatest fear. No one, including physicians making the diagnosis, likes to talk about Alzheimer’s. Living longer isn’t the most appealing prospect for anyone with this mind-robbing disease.
Now the good news: Changing your diet, taking the right supplements, exercising regularly, and managing stress can improve your health at any age. “What’s good for your heart is good for your brain,” explains Rachel Whitner, PhD, senior author of this new NIH-funded study.
The Mayo Clinic recommends a Mediterranean-style diet, emphasizing fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains, olive oil, and nuts. And 65 years of accumulated evidence points to the benefits of omega-3 fats including EPA and DHA. Scientists believe these fatty acids work from inside the cell membrane to support the heart’s electrical activity.
Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:
I totally agree with the American Heart Association (AHA) which advises two servings of fatty fish a week, or about 500 milligrams of EPA and DHA daily – for most individuals. For those of us with a history of either heart disease or Alzheimer’s, I recommend anywhere from 2 to 3 softgels of Super EPA daily (a total of 2 – 3,000 mg). Super EPA is free from heavy metals (mercury) and contaminants like PCBs.
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