Battling Alzheimer’s disease – Part 3: Drink water

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 third installment. Featured recipe: Smoothies.

Part 3 – Drink Water

The elixir of life

Humans can last days, even weeks, without food. But without water, we’re in trouble. Just 4 hours without water can lead to mild dehydration, with effects like fatigue and headaches. Going as little as 24 hours without water can have dire results. Brains lacking water lose the ability to retain short-term memories and to recall memories from the past. Lack of water over longer periods makes your little gray cells shrink. A thirsty brain ages before its time, resulting in brain fog, confusion, and worse.

Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day. Add lemons, strawberries or cucumbers to a jug of water if you want more flavor. Drink tea, coffee, or smoothies for variety, but avoid soft drinks and juice for the most part, as they contain too much added sugar. Diet coke would be the worst choice of all, because of the artificial sweetner used. Plain water is best.

How much is enough

To get an accurate measure of the amount of water you need daily to hydrate your body, divide your body weight in pounds by two. The answer is the number of ounces you should drink daily. Divide that number by 8 to get the number of cups of water to drink every day. Using this guide, I would need 9 cups a day.

Drinking more of your daily requirement earlier in the day is encouraged, to reduce the number of trips to the bathroom at night! A good routine might be to drink a couple of cups when you wake, a cup every time you eat or exercise, and finish off with the remaining cups in the evening, a few hours before bedtime. Hydrating in the early evening might prevent leg cramps at night caused by dehyration. Herbal tea and decaf coffee are equivalent sources of water. There is also water in the food we eat. However, alcohol and caffeine act as diuretics, sucking moisture from our cells and eliminating it in urine. So wine, beer, cocktails, and regular tea and coffee are less effective sources of hydration than plain water.

Lemons – Having a warm cup of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice upon waking is recommended as healthful. It is also pleasant tasting. Studies show that lemon water has these benefits:

  1. Boosts your immune system and helps kill bacteria.
  2. Helps your blood stay alkaline for optimum functioning. How that happens and why it’s important is explained here.
  3. Helps maintain a healthy weight – check out above link.
  4. Aids digestion, nudging your intestines to move toxins out of your body.
  5. Increases urination. Washes bacteria from urinary tract.
  6. Purges toxins from blood for clearer skin.
  7. Regulates adrenals to help keep you hydrated and unstressed.
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Apple cider vinegar – Another practice might be to add a teaspoon or two of apple cider vinegar to your first cup of water of the day. It too is said to help maintain a healthy weigh, regulate blood sugar, lower blood pressure and contribute to heart health. Be sure to choose an organic apple cider vinegar with live probiotics. It is labeled as “with the mother.”

More milk, please! – Milk is another great way to get your daily liquid fix, as long as you’re not allergic to it. I prefer low-fat versions, to reduce saturated animal fats in my diet. I don’t like the taste much, never have. So I prefer smoothies!

Strawberry smoothie

Fruity tootie smoothie mash-up

A smoothie’s smooooth… Use any kind of fruit you like. Colorful fruits like blueberries, raspberries, kiwis, cherries, and blackberries are awesome choices! Banana is also popular. A couple of teaspoons of ground flaxseed give a creamier texture, along with an extra jolt of healthy fat to boost your brain power. Add the skim milk at the end, just enough to make your breakfast-in-a-glass as thick or as thin as you like it. Finally, try swapping frozen low-fat yogurt, fruit juices, or low-fat chocolate milk into the mix instead of the skim milk. A hand-held emersion blender or a food processor makes the job super easy. The recipe serves two.

  • 2 cups of fresh strawberries
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups low-fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon home-made liquid stevia (or maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons ground flax seed (optional)
  • ½ to 1 cup skim milk (or cranberry or pomegranate juice)
  1. Wash the strawberries and remove the stems. Put the berries in the blender’s vessel.
  2. Add the vanilla, yogurt, and sweetener to the blender, as well as the ground flax seed, if you have it. Pulse together until smooth (three or four minutes).
  3. Now add the milk a little at a time, until the smoothie is as thin as you like it.
  4. Serve in two tall glasses. Enough for you and a friend.
References

Read the first two installments of this series on Battling Alzheimer’s disease:

3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. elenisempanadas
    Feb 02, 2021 @ 22:04:26

    I will have to share this with my aging parents. My dad rarely drinks water.

    Reply

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