Most cases of Alzheimer’s are preventable: New book explains how
09/23/2019 // Evangelyn Rodriguez // Views

Alzheimer's disease is a global epidemic, especially among older adults. The irreversible and progressive disease – which causes dementia among older adults – affects over 5.5 million people in the U.S. alone. Not only is Alzheimer's disease currently incurable; it is also one of the leading causes of death among Americans. Although the mechanisms behind the development and progression of Alzheimer's are still not fully understood, scientists already have a lot of information to work with. These helpful bits and pieces of the Alzheimer's puzzle have led researchers to believe that the disease is preventable. In their book The Alzheimer’s Solution: A Breakthrough Program to Prevent and Reverse the Symptoms of Cognitive Decline at Every Age, authors Dean and Ayesha Sherzai from Loma Linda University Medical Center in California share pointers on how to live a healthy lifestyle that can prevent the onset of Alzheimer's disease.

The NEURO plan

According to the authors, most Alzheimer's cases can be prevented. About 90 percent of people can avoid getting this brain disease, while those genetically predisposed to it can delay cognitive decline by ten to fifteen years. To be able to do either, the authors recommend making lifestyle changes that revolve around the five NEURO factors.

NEURO stands for nutrition, exercise, unwind, restore, and optimize. The NEURO plan places heavy emphasis on eating the right foods and engaging in activities that positively affect brain function, such as exercising, managing stress, and getting good quality sleep. Incorporating these into your lifestyle is believed to help the brain delay or halt the onset of neurodegenerative diseases.


The NEURO factors are at the heart of this preventive lifestyle plan. These factors entail the following:

  • Nutrition: A diet consisting of whole foods and plant-based foods is key to the prevention of chronic diseases. Avoiding sugar, salt, and processed foods is also crucial.
  • Exercise: Rather than working out at the gym, an active lifestyle full of physical activities is what the body needs.
  • Unwind: Chronic stress is the root of many health problems. Learning how to manage stress by practicing either meditation, mindfulness techniques, breathing exercises, yoga, or simply spending time in nature, is crucial to maintaining overall health.
  • Restore: Sleep is a vital process that allows the body to repair and heal itself. Get seven to eight hours of detoxifying sleep through intensive sleep hygiene, by managing sleep disorders, and by avoiding foods and medications that can cause poor-quality sleep.
  • Optimize: The brain responds positively to certain stimuli, such as music and social interactions. Engaging in activities that challenge the brain and induce activity in various regions will benefit this organ in the long run.

The importance of nutrition in fighting Alzheimer's disease

The food that you eat dictates many things, such as your mood, your health, your energy levels, and your performance. Food also determines how you will grow, age, and die. This influence extends even to your cells, which depend on the nutrients food provides. Because the brain uses up a quarter of the fuel in your body, it is extremely vulnerable to nutritional choices. (Related: Alzheimer’s: The Need for Nutritional & Social Change.)

“What you choose to eat creates either an environment in which the brain can thrive and repair itself, or an environment that promotes decline,” the authors wrote. Poor nutrition can cause significant damage to the brain. It induces inflammation, the accumulation of oxidative by-products, and the buildup of plaque that clogs blood vessels. It also robs the brain of essential nutrients that help strengthen neurons, enhance neural connections, and fortify support structures.

Just as unhealthy food can impair brain function, nutritious food can be used to prevent diseases and boost brain health. Alzheimer's disease can be fought by making the right dietary choices. This has been proven time and time again by clinical research, say the authors. Because of this correlation, the authors urge people to adhere to a brain-healthy diet and to adopt a brain-healthy lifestyle to promote, support, and maintain excellent cognitive function.

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