How you Can Stay Mentally and Physically Sharp in Life

Orleans Parish Coroner, Dr. Dwight McKenna, says healthier living is the key to lowering the risk of dementia. It’s important to understand the difference between the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s and normal aging. Just like our skin wrinkles, our brains age too, and you may find yourself becoming more forgetful.

Experts say eating fish regularly as part of a balanced diet could reduce your risk of age-related decline. If you’re a drinker, be aware that recent studies have shown a link between elevated mercury in the body and reduced liver function in older adults, particularly those who drink alcohol regularly.

There are also links, experts say, between cholesterol and Alzheimer’s. If you have high cholesterol, some say its like pressing the fast-forward button to Alzheimer’s disease, and people with type 2 diabetes show a greater decline in verbal memory and fluency over a five-year period than non-diabetics.

It’s also important for women to stay heart healthy. Estrogen protects the heart by keeping arteries pliable and controlling blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s one reason heart disease spikes in women about 10-years after menopause. What can you do? Focus on sleep. Snoozing less than six hours a night boosts the odds of heart disease.

The average person takes in 3,400 milligrams of sodium daily, more than twice the amount the American Heart Association says is ideal. Seventy percent of that comes from processed foods, and bread, cold cuts and cheese are all among top sources of sodium. Eat more fruits and vegetables to increase your potassium intake. This can help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Exercise more and talk to your doctor about the possibility of taking an aspirin a day to to lower your risk of disease.

If you are overweight, you are at greater risk of diabetes. Dr. McKenna says all body fat is not equal. Belly fat is made up of both fat above and below the skin. Unlike excess fat in your bottom and thigh areas, excess abdominal fat is a risk factor for high blood pressure, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The American Heart Association recommends 150 minutes of moderate-intense exercise per week, and five brisk 30-minute walks does the trick, experts say. Also, consider at least two days a week of resistance training, including pushing and pulling exercises for both upper and lower body.