Battling Alzheimer’s Disease: Part 1 – Fueling exercise

Fend off those “senior moments”

Vinny’s grandparents have told him that living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is one of the scarier prospects of growing older. So he has decided to do a series of posts about some lifestyle choices that could make a positive difference to our mental health in later years. He’s all for starting these habits early, for a longer and more active life. Read on for his first installment.

Part 1. Get off the sofa

The best way to keep our minds sharp is to move. Even just 10 minutes of aerobic exercise a day makes a difference. Exercise builds the size of the part of the brain where memories are stored, through more blood flow. An enriched oxygen supply helps our brain work more efficiently.

Take short exercise breaks regularly during the day – stretch, climb up and down the stairs a few times, or even walk down the hall to the washroom. Also, plan for 30 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise three times a week. A brisk walk is all it takes to maintain your memory, improve your focus, and heighten your creativity.

And speaking of creativity, any activity that involves learning benefits the brain. Art, music, languages, reading, lectures. or puzzles are all good examples.

Juggling a few activities for the body and the mind builds better health and a more vibrant life.

Breakfast boost

To give you the energy you need to keep moving, be sure to have a little protein along with some good carbs in the morning. Get your day off with a carb that comes with vitamins and minerals, as well as some fiber that makes it tougher to digest. That way, it will supply your blood stream with sugar slowly, and power your activities longer and more steadily, until it’s time for your next meal. Bananas are ideal. And eggs make a good partner. Let’s get cracking!

Vinny’s banana crepe
Serves one hungry person

Try this super easy recipe, with just two main ingredients. Double the recipe if you are a big eater or you are serving a friend.

  • half a fairly ripe banana
  • 1 egg
  1. Mash the banana in a small bowl until the lumps are gone (the riper the banana, the easier this is)
  2. Crack an egg into the bowl and whip it into the banana until the batter is smooth
  3. Heat a fry pan on medium high with a little oil (I use coconut oil, but a little butter or canola oil also works. I prefer a nonstick ceramic-coated pan. But hey, whatever you’ve got!)
  4. Pour the whole works into the middle of the pan and watch it cook
  5. When the edges have dried and the middle shows some bubbles and has set fairly solidly, slip the spatula under one edge and roll it up. Then roll the crepe out of the pan onto your plate.

Vinny’s secrets

  1. Enjoy as is, or add some Greek yogurt sweetened with honey or stevia and a handful of berries for an extra boost.
  2. No syrup necessary! The banana makes it plenty sweet enough.
  3. I like to sprinkle cinnamon on top.

Food friends that get you out of bed feeling happy

Bananas – A serious mood food,  bananas are sweethearts that brighten your day. Chiquita says, “Bananas bring you a bunch of  feel-good chemicals that work as a team to keep you from getting depressed. Together they relax you and keep you calm.” The sugar and fiber  in bananas give you a quick boost. The two work hand in hand to keep blood sugar constant and energy high. These carbs also help the brain absorb tryptophan from the banana, which converts to mood-lifting serotonin when vitamin B6 is along for the ride (which it is). Finally, bananas also offer iron, crucial to fighting fatigue.

Eggs – It’s pretty much the same story for eggs… lots of tryptophan with the added advantage of high-quality protein and omega-3 fats. The protein works with the  carbs from bananas to convert tryptophan into serotonin, stabilize blood sugar and prevent emotional highs and lows. Vitamin B12 in eggs plays a key role in the production of energy, improves your memory,  and banishes depression.

Cinnamon – Three’s company when cinnamon joins the breakfast party. That’s because the number one benefit from cinnamon is how it regulates blood sugar.  That’s great news for anyone who wants stable energy levels and moods. Besides using it to decorate my banana crepe, I always throw a dash of cinnamon into my morning coffee.

Read on for Part 2 of Vinny’s series on battling Alzheimer’s disease.

  1. Exercise plays a preventive role against Alzheimer’s disease
  2. Mayo Clinic: Can exercise prevent memory loss?
  3. Science News, July 9, 2020: Brain benefits from exercise attributed to a single protein
  4. Battling Alzeimer’s disease – Part 2: Choose mood foods

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