Reducing Alzheimer’s risk with a healthy weight
Let’s talk about Alzheimer’s disease.
- It affects approximately 5.3 million Americans of all ages.
- Most are over the age of 65 and two-thirds are women.
- The numbers are growing, as you might suspect, because our population is aging.
- By 2025, it is estimated that 7.1 million will have Alzheimer’s disease – that’s a 40 percent increase!
- This year, 700,000 of those who die will have Alzheimer’s disease.
A recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Neurology found a connection between memory function decline - which increases Alzheimer’s risk - and insulin resistance. The 150 people in this study had an average age of 60, and were all at risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. They were checked for insulin resistance.
What is insulin resistance?
- The body is unable to use insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas to help regulate glucose levels.
- We become resistant to insulin – it’s there in the body but we are unable to use it – usually because of weight in the belly area.
- Glucose levels rise, since the insulin is unavailable to help get the glucose into the body’s cells. So this increases Type 2 diabetes risk.
The study participants with insulin resistance had less blood sugar going to certain areas of the brain. In other words, there was less energy for the brain to use to relay information. Researchers theorize that this may increase Alzheimer’s risk.
So, bottom line here is to tackling insulin resistance to hopefully prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
A few reminders for getting to and maintaining a healthy weight, since belly weight is associated with insulin resistance:
- Enjoy a daily walk – at least 30 minutes.
- Be mindful of portions of the foods that you eat – eat until satisfied but not stuffed.
- Make most meals at home from scratch to control the ingredients and cooking methods.
- Include fruits and vegetables at all meals to boost fiber without a lot of calories.
- Limit processed carbohydrate foods such as chips and snack crackers, cookies, candy, etc. since they spike glucose levels and then cause an insulin surge.
Healthy recipes to try: