“Let our lives be full of both Thanks and Giving.”
With the holidays right around the corner, let us remember to take the time to reflect, and give thanks. When life gets hectic, and time starts to rush by, it is easy to get caught up in the flow of things, without slowing down long enough to enjoy the little moments.
Not only at Thanksgiving, but all year round. There is always something to be thankful for. This is a wonderful time to remind ourselves to live more in the present, and cherish every special moment.
November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness and Caregivers Month
Every 66 seconds, someone in the United States develops the disease.
But there are ways to protect the brain as we age. According to The Alzheimer's Association, there are 10 ways to love your brain:
Break a sweat
Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
Hit the books
Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center or online.
Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
Follow your heart
Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.
Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.
Fuel up right
Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.
Catch some Zzz's
Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
Take care of your mental health
Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community — if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an afterschool program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.
Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.
Regular aerobic exercise could be a fountain of youth for the brain.
Dr. Lauren Baker
In a study led by Lauren Baker, it showed that “vigorous exercise not only makes Alzheimer’s patients feel better, but it makes changes in the brain that could indicate improvements”.
“These findings are important because they strongly suggest a potent lifestyle intervention such as aerobic exercise can impact Alzheimer's-related changes in the brain. No currently approved medication can rival these effects,” Baker said in a statement.
But what is the difference between moderate and vigorous? And what does regular exercise mean?
According to the CDC, moderate exercise means you're working hard enough to raise your heart rate and break a sweat. You'll be able to talk, but not sing the words to your favorite song.
At a vigorous intensity, you'll be breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate will be up quite a bit. If you're working at this level, you won't be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. Most experts consider vigorous exercise at 70-80 percent of maximum heart rate for at least half of each session.
Regular exercise equates to either:
Perform any of the above, PLUS 2 additional days of strength training.
And 10 minutes of activity broken up throughout the day works just as well. So no excuses to not fit it in!
Please follow these links for additional articles, information, and warning signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s.
Healthy eating is equally as important as regular exercise. I’ve listed below some healthy Mediterranean Diet approved recipes. Most of which would be delicious at the Thanksgiving table!
Delicious! Most of the prep work can be done the day before.
This takes a bit of prep work, but most of it can be done ahead of time. Beautiful dish!
Nothing better than another dish with make-ahead options. This way you can save Thanksgiving Day for relaxing with family and friends!
One of our favorites. SO good.
This is a family favorite. I add 2 cups of broccoli florets to up the vegetable ante. I bet this would be good with leftover shredded turkey!
These are the perfect solution for typically unhealthy apple cider donuts. Baked, not fried, these can even be made gluten free by using gluten free oat flour. Can be made as muffins if you don’t have a donut pan. It will make 8 muffins. SO delicious!
Wishing you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving!