Every year growing up, my family would go to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina to visit my grandparents. Coming from Wisconsin, going to the beach was such an exciting vacation every year. We’d pack our minivan to the brim and make the 18-hour trek there. My grandma would have a bag full of unneeded toys for my brother and me, a stack of all of the best coupons to all the touristy beach stores, and a full itinerary for my entire family. Those trips are some of my favorite memories from being a kid.
My grandma was always the grandma to send cards for every holiday- St. Patrick’s Day, Valentine’s Day, First Day of School- everything, no matter what. We would get at least biweekly calls, virtual hugs, chain emails telling us they loved us, the whole package of a long distance grandparent relationship.
Until we noticed it start to slow down. The calls were less frequent, the cards minimized and were late, our trips weren’t as planned, my grandpa started talking more on the phone calls. We could sense something was up.
We started seeing the warning signs: the same questions over and over, the sudden anxiety and rushing off the phone, the forgetting of stories from the past. It wasn’t hard to pinpoint once it started.
It all started just a few months after an accident she was in at a local campground karaoke. My grandpa was singing, like he loves to do, when two drunk guys barged in the room fighting. It got more and more heated and it all moved so fast and my grandma ended up getting flung across the room hitting her head on the wall and floor.
Months later, she was diagnosed with early onset, head trauma induced Alzheimer’s.
Now, about a decade later, my grandma can no longer recognize anyone except her husband of 60 years, she can’t feed herself, bathe herself, dress herself, or even have an opinion on what she wants for dinner. She can’t even answer simple questions like “how are you” or “are you hot or cold”.
I share the long version of this story so you can see the magnitude of this disease. It develops fast. There is no proven cure and barely methods to slow the progression down. It is the only thing on the top 10 ways people are dying in America with no proven cure, prevention, or slowing method. It kills more people than Breast and Prostate Cancer combined. Someone is developing it every 65 seconds. (Source)
There are currently 5.7 million American’s diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and millions more with any type of Dementia (the umbrella term for memory loss). This number is expected to over double by 2050. They estimate by the time that I am over 55, 1 in 2 people will have Alzheimer’s. It is a crisis.
Now, I don’t want this to be a harsh, sad post but there is a gravity behind the topic. People need to change if they want to be on the upside of the 50% who doesn’t develop it.
I have done hours and hours of researching, reading, watching documentaries, and listening to podcasts about Dementia. Below you will find a list of ways to naturally combat this disease to the best of the expert’s knowledge. Nothing is 100% but it cannot hurt to give it all you got to keep your lifelong memories, lifelong.
Quick little disclaimer: Like I have stated, this is all based on research I have done. I am not a doctor but I want to share the knowledge I have accumulated over the years. Enjoy!
Tips to Prevent Alzheimer’s and Various Types of Dementia Naturally
1: The MIND Diet
The MIND Diet is one of the most researched and proven Alzheimer’s prevention methods to this day. It is a combination of the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet. It is nothing strict. They give you a list of 10 foods – green veggies, other veggies, berries, nuts, olive oil, whole grains, fish, beans, poultry, and wine – to eat more of. And they give you a list of 5 foods – butter, cheese, red meat, fried food, and sugar – to avoid.
If you follow the diet guidelines strictly, it is said to reduce your risk by 53%and if you follow it loosely, your risk is still 35% lower.
This diet is healthy, easy, and plant-based. The DASH Diet is not only a healthy switch for your brain and your weight, but it is also a sustainable one.
Here is more information on the DASH Diet. They give you serving numbers per week on this website. It is the best outline I have found.
- Eat foods high in Omega-3s and antioxidants
- Salmon, hemp seeds, blueberries, spinach, walnuts
- Stay away from Mercury
- This is a problem with consuming too much Salmon and other fish, 2-3 servings a week maximum
- Cut way back on sugar
- BDNF cannot be produced in your brain with lots of sugar intake
- Other brain power blasting foods: pomegranates, purple grape, rosemary, ginger, probiotics, green and black tea
2: Exercise your brain and continue learning
Our brains can get very comfortable if you stop exercising them. If you get into a state where you feel like you are not reading, challenging yourself, problem-solving, interacting with people, try taking up a new hobby that will work your brain. Learn how to do calligraphy, learn a new language, do crossword puzzles, download Lumosity on your phone.
Just like if we stop exercising our bodies, our brain gets a little flabby too. Keep working it and you will naturally see a difference.
3: Keep mold exposure to a minimum
You may be thinking, “Why would I do anything else?” well, there are thousands of people that live in climates that daily mold exposure is very real. If you live in a humid, damp environment, there is most likely mold growing in places you do not know.
Mold spores can get into our blood stream and respiratory system and cause something called CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome), a leading cause for a type of Alzheimer’s.
So try to keep your living environment dryer. Ways to do this is using a dehumidifier inside your house or using air purifiers. I use these activated charcoal air purifiers in my house during the more humid months.
4: Switch fabric softeners for wool dryer balls
Normal fabric softeners have chemicals in it that have been linked to brain and genetic material damage and increased vulnerability to Dementia.
Instead of fabric softeners, switch to wool dryer balls. You throw these little babies right in your dryer and they do the same magic as fabric softeners. You can use the same set of dryer balls for about 1000 washes. They save you money, waste, and brain cells! I use these wool dryer balls with a few drops of essential oils to make my laundry smell that much better.
5: Kick out the antiperspirant
Antiperspirant can be an added perk in the sweaty summer months, but it does contain aluminum which exposure has been linked to Alzheimer’s. Many studies have been done but none are conclusive if it causes it. However, there is a strong relationship to brain levels of aluminum and developing the disease.
A simple switch is going to natural deodorant! I use Primal Pit Paste. It smells delicious, lasts me months, and works just as good as regular deodorant. I use this one: PRIMAL PIT PASTE Natural Deodorant in Orange Dreamsicle
Here is also a post I wrote about how to switch to natural deodorant, it can be a little body cleanse process but this article will walk you through what you can expect.
6: Filter the heck out of your drinking water
Drinking water is another spot where we see aluminum exposure. In one inconclusive study, they found that a 0.1 mg exposure a day can double your risk of Dementia. An average exposure in NYC is about .02 mg per day. Researchers suggest you take precautions with unfiltered drinking water not only for aluminum but for other elements as well- iron, fluoride, etc.
A snazzy natural water filtering method if you do not have filtered enough tap water is activated charcoal. I have used these in the past and they don’t change the taste of the water but they absorb all of the toxins from within the water. These are the ones I have seen used.
Those 6 tips can truly make a huge impact on your future. Some of them- wool dryer balls, natural deodorants, and filtered water- are a quick switch from buying this to that. Like I said above, much of this research has not come out to the hard evidence of causation, but there is a significant correlation between the factor and developing Alzheimer’s.
I hope you found these tips informative and helpful in your journey to live long and remember all of it. Some great resources I have found for Alzheimer’s knowledge is the book Still Alice by Lisa Genova, Bulletproof Radio Podcast, and the Alzheimer’s Society podcast. Check them out if you want to do more learning!
Below is a list of products that I listed above that I use or know of to help prevent Alzheimer’s naturally.
- MOSO Activated Charcoal Air Purifiers
- Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls
- PRIMAL PIT PASTE Natural Deodorant
- Activated Charcoal Water Filter
Comment your Alzheimer’s stories and questions below!