… what gets your attention?
It seems people don’t think much about having heart disease, even though it’s quite common and increasing (and a common cause of instant death – in 40% of all heart attacks, the first symptom is sudden death; that’s one heck of a symptom). On the other hand, if you’ve seen first hand a family member ravaged by Alzheimer’s, you might pay attention to headlines about that, or less likely, less dramatic but still devastating health challenges such as diabetes or autoimmune disease.
In the greater scheme of things, maybe it doesn’t matter what gets your attention because they all share some common ground: lifestyle behaviors are the predominant factors that determine whether you may or may not develop one of these destructive health conditions (this field of science is called epigenetics – meaning that lifestyle or environmental factors take precedence over genetic predisposition).
For example, science has shown us that getting regular (daily) exercise, eating healthy fats, and avoiding refined carbohydrates (such as sugar and bread), will drastically lower the risk of heart disease or having a heart attack.
Oh, wait a minute, those same lifestyle choices also play a central role in causing/avoiding diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disease.
We’ve talked about these many factors before, but we can’t overstate the importance of sleep.
Quality sleep – and getting enough of it at the right times – is as essential to survival as food and water.1
And of course, nutrition and exercise are front and center (do you notice that regardless of the disease, virtually all prevention gets proven to be anchored to our lifestyle choices?).
‘Physical activity and nutrition were by far the two most important things on the list …’ 2,3
On the subject of nutrition, it’s important to know your fats – in particular, the importance of avoiding processed vegetable oils and what are called ‘trans fats’ (margarine, vegetable shortening found in many packaged and processed foods, coffee creamers, etc.)
‘…reduce industrially produced trans fatty acids may assist in the primary prevention of dementia.’ 4
1 Fultz NE, et al. Coupled electrophysiological, hemodynamic, and cerebrospinal fluid oscillations in human sleep Science 01 Nov 2019: 366 (6465), 628-631
2 Dr. Richard Isaacson, lead author of recent study published in Alzheimer’s and Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, quoted in CNN article
3 Ngandu T, et al. A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial. Lancet. 2015 Jun 6;385(9984):2255-63
4 Honda T, et al. Serum elaidic acid concentration and risk of dementia. The Hisayama study. Neurology Oct 2019, 10.1212
ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS:
-> Alzheimer’s Association