Did you know that eating grilled meat could increase your risk of being struck down by dementia? Or that getting on the treadmill can help keep your brain sharp? The dozens of choices you make over the course of any average day—ordering the curry vs. the samosas, reading the newspaper vs. watching the news—really can determine whether you’ll develop Alzheimer’s years from now as well as how quickly the disease will progress. There are no drugs or procedures that can cure or even effectively treat Alzheimer’s. But you have the power to outsmart this terrifying disease by combatting some of its major risk factors: diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stress, social isolation, and sleeplessness.
Enjoy coffee in the morningNick Starichenko/Shutterstock
Caffeine consumed too late in the day may disturb your sleep, and ultimately harm your brain. But coffee consumed in the morning and perhaps the early afternoon, depending on your personal caffeine sensitivity, may reduce risk. Coffee contains a chemical called eicosanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamide (EHT) that, in studies done on rats, has been shown to protect against Alzheimer’s disease. The caffeine itself may also be protective: Mice developed fewer tau tangles in their brains when their drinking water was infused with caffeine. In humans, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that 200 milligrams of caffeine—the amount in one strong cup of coffee—can help us consolidate memories and more easily memorize new information. Watch out for these early signs of Alzheimer’s.