Lowering Your Alzheimer’s risk, by Charlyn Fargo

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My uncle and my father-in-law both suffered from Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible disease. So, is there a way to lower Alzheimer’s risk?

A new study finds we can with some lifestyle changes.

The study, published recently in the journal Neurology, found that healthy lifestyle choices were associated with a lowered risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The study analyzed two observational studies of over 2,700 participants who were followed for six years. Participants got a score of zero to five based on:

No. 1: Not smoking.

No. 2: Engaging in 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

No. 3: Keeping alcohol consumption light to moderate (one drink a day for women, two for men).

No. 4: Engagement in cognitive activities.

No. 5: Consuming a high-quality diet — half your plate fruits and vegetables, one-fourth whole grains, one-fourth lean protein and lean dairy on the side.

Just doing two or three of the healthy lifestyle factors was associated with a 37% lower risk of Alzheimer’s. Those who did four or five of the lifestyle factors had a 60% lower risk.

The bottom line is our lifestyle choices make a difference in our later years. Try committing to making two or three of the lifestyle changes.

Q and A

Q: I’ve heard fiber keeps you regular. Is oatmeal a good fiber to eat?

A: Constipation affects some 16% of Americans. Eating more fiber can help alleviate constipation. But there are different types of fiber. Insoluble fiber, such as the string on celery, bran, the skin of corn and beans, and the skin of fruits and vegetables, is best to help with constipation. The fiber in oats and oatmeal is soluble fiber, which helps in lowering cholesterol. We need both kinds in a healthy diet.

RECIPE

Here in the Midwest, farmers will soon be harvesting their corn and soybeans, and the weather has begun to grow cooler in the mornings and evenings. Fall always means pumpkin time. Here’s a recipe to help celebrate fall in the mornings.

CINNAMON-PUMPKIN OVERNIGHT OATS

1/2 cup oats (old-fashioned, uncooked)

2 tablespoons skim milk

1/3 cup Greek plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon raw pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts

Add oats to a jar or other container. Pour in milk. Layer with yogurt. In small bowl, stir together pumpkin, maple syrup and cinnamon; layer over yogurt. Top with pumpkin seeds or walnuts. Refrigerate overnight, and enjoy in the morning. Let steep for at least 8 hours in a refrigerator 40 degrees F or colder. Best to eat within 24 hours. Makes 1 serving.

Per serving: 290 calories; 13 grams protein; 54 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fat (1 gram saturated); 5 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams fiber; 70 milligrams sodium.

Charlyn Fargo is a registered dietitian with SIU Med School in Springfield, Illinois. For comments or questions, contact her at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @NutritionRD. To find out more about Charlyn Fargo and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com

Photo credit: Pezibear at Pixabay

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