June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month and today, June 21st, people all over the world will be using the summer solstice, the day of the year with the most light, to join together, raise awareness and fight this horrible disease in the #LongestDay campaign. People are being encouraged to wear purple, share stories of loved ones or other impacts of the disease and participate in fundraising for the cause. This cause is near and dear to my heart because my grandmother died of Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition, below are five ways we can all fight or prevent Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health every day and month of the year.
1. Nutrition: According to Harvard Health, following a Mediterranean diet if possible, can help prevent the disease or slow its progression by nourishing the brain and helping it function most optimally. Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy monounsaturated fats found in olive oil, nuts, seeds and avocado, whole grains found in brown rice, quinoa or whole grain bread and fish poultry and eggs in moderation.
2. Exercise: Regular exercise, including cardio, strength-training and flexibility work, ideally 30 minutes a day for up to five days a week, can improve memory and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 50%. Exercise reduces inflammation, insulin resistance and promotes the release of growth factors that are chemicals in the brain, which impact the health of brain cells.
3. Sleep: Sleeping seven to eight hours per night, without the distractions of screens or light and at a comfortable temperature just under 70 degrees, can allow the brain to rest, restore and flush out toxins. It also promotes memory to help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
4. Mental Stimulation: Continued learning and growth through reading, studying a new language or subject matter or playing a musical instrument can promote mental and brain stimulation and prevent or reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. These activities also can create engagement, hope and purpose, which are always good for overall mental health.
5. Social Connection: Connecting with others through get-togethers, events, phone calls, texts and social media in moderation, can promote a feeling of love, safety, comfort and fulfillment. These feelings and interactions can help maintain not only mental health, but emotional health as well. These are all ways to prevent or minimize the impact of Alzheimer’s.
Hopefully today’s campaign will help more people to be aware and if you can, wear purple, donate and spread the word.