Diet and Exercise for Health

Helping your brain stay healthy

By Edie J. Adler
Published on LatinoLA: February 21, 2017

Diet and Exercise for Health

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You are what you eat"? There is plenty of truth and wisdom to that. Everyone knows that whatever we put in our bodies has a direct effect in our health; that is also true when trying to lower the risk or Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and a plethora of other debilitating diseases.

While there is still no cure or prevention for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, the right diet and exercise program can help to reduce your risk, and even delay some of their symptoms.

When caring for a loved one who suffers from one of these illnesses, it is important to pay close attention to their eating and exercising habits. Before you change their diet, or start them on a regular workout program, please consult your medical professional to make sure the exercise is safe, and that they get the nutrients require for better overall health.

The Alzheimer's Association recommends either the DASH or the Mediterranean diets for optimal brain health.

The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) focuses on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and non-fat or low-fat dairy products. You may also include beans, seeds, nuts, vegetable oils, chicken, and turkey, while limiting sodium and sugars.

The Mediterranean diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, olive oils, fish, whole grains, nuts, other healthy fats, such as avocado, and very little red meat.

There is scientific evidence that healthy eating improves brain health, as well as a good, doctor approved exercise program.

A 30 minute walk will benefit your brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain; even if your loved one cannot go on a 30 minute walk all at once, the good news is that they can enjoy the benefits even if you take them for 10 minute walks three times a day.

Take advantage of this time to engage their brain in other activities; make the walk fun for both of you. Play games, such as identifying cars by make of color. See if you can spot a bird, or a cat. Talk to them about pleasant topics, things they enjoy talking about…. don't worry if you've heard the story 50 times already!

And from time to time, reward both of you with that special slice of chocolate cake!

About Edie J. Adler:
Edie J. is an actress, author, and advocate for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease. She lives in the Valley with her husband Neal, their 6 dogs, 4 2/4 cats, 3 birds, and a disappearing turtle.
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