Don’t Let Memory Be a Thing of the Past
By now you may have read the shocking new 2009 World Alzheimer Report, sponsored by the ADI (Alzheimers Disease International in London) summarizing their global findings on all types of dementia (not just Alzheimers). The results were staggering – an estimated 35 million people world wide have dementia. About 10 percent higher than previously estimated. And in the next 20 years, those statistics will increase by 63 percent in North America. They have now stated that dementia is considered to be a global epidemic. See our easy-to-read summary of this report on our Dementia Statistics page.
So what? you may think. What does this have to do with me? Hopefully, nothing. And indeed, the belief that dementia is inevitable in old age, if we live long enough, has been dissed. It is definitely not inevitable. In 2008 an autopsy of the brain of the oldest woman in the world (from the Netherlands) who had recently died at age 115, showed no signs of dementia, nor the deposits and tangles in the brain from Alzheimers. She had, in fact, almost no abnormal brain cells at all, no narrowing of the arteries anywhere in her body. Science now had to re-think the inevitability theory.
So how did she do it? There are many factors. Studies have shown that brain stimulation and activities such as reading, doing word and number puzzles and playing cards are vital, as we know. Equally effective, however, is just 10 minutes of conversation with a friend or family member a few times a week. Socializing is important (even volunteering). And exercise. Studies by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) have shown that people who exercise three times per week have a far less chance of developing dementia.
But the leader of the pack is, perhaps, correct nutrition. You’ve heard of brain food. Take it seriously. High blood pressure and high cholesterol can jeopardize our brains. As can smoking. We’ve heard all the hype about diet and nutrition in every magazine, e-zine, and news broadcast under the sun for years. But now, since this newest report was released, baby boomers and “above” are taking nutrition more seriously. Also in 2009, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) issued a study that a diet higher in fruits and vegetables, legumes, cereal and fish (especially those containing Omega 3 fatty acids such as in salmon and tuna), shellfish, plus low in red meat and poultry, and coupled with regular exercise, were at less risk for dementia.
The well-known Mediterranean Diet emphasizes that this region of the world has the lowest recorded rates of chronic disease, and highest adult life expectancy. The diet includes fruits and vegetables, potatoes, breads and grains, beans, nuts, and seeds. These contain high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Use minimally fresh, processed, locally grown food as much as possible. Olive oil is the main source of good fat (instead of butter or margarine). Also recommended are fish and poultry, and up to 4 eggs per week. Lean, red meat is advised only a few times per month, as needed. Only low-fat cheese and yoghurt were included. Desserts mainly consist of fresh fruit; sweets including honey, and sugars, are kept to a minimum. Optional daily consumption of wine is mentioned, but not necessary. Again, daily exercise is stressed. All of the above-mentioned foods have been endorsed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Department of Agriculture, and National Institute on Aging as well.
If you are interested in more nutrition facts and the FDA food value charts, see the Nutrition section of our web site.
And now for some fun! We mentioned in our last newsletter about the high nutrition in yellow vegetables such as squash. But we also have a few really great projects too – you’ve just got to check out these really fun
Gourd Crafts Ideas – Gifts, Ghouls and Grannies.
And they’re simple to make!
Visit our web site for lots more great articles for baby boomers and seniors at
The best to you,
The Elder-Boomer Buzz comes out during the first and third weeks of the month.