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Kathi Casey
The Healthy Boomer Body Expert

Kathi is an author, coach, popular speaker and talk radio show guest, writes monthly columns for the South Shore Senior News, Life After 50, Boomers Forever and Retirement Living Magazines, produces her own TV show called To Your Health" in the Berkshires and owns the Healthy Boomer Body Studio in Otis, MA. Her programs combine good fun and humor with simple yet powerful techniques that fit easily into busy schedules.

November is National Alzheimer's Awareness Month and Caregivers Month

Alzheimer's disease – is there anyone out there who is not aware that this disease exists? Probably not anyone over the age of 20. Research is continuing in the hope of finding a cure, but there are a lot of things we can do right now in the way of prevention. Here are a few tips to start you off on your way to healthier brain cells!

1. Diet is my number one prevention technique. A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including wild Alaskan salmon, sardines, flaxseed and walnuts has been proven beneficial for maintaining your brain health. Also, healing spices like turmeric, red pepper and ginger have natural anti-inflammatory properties. Because blueberries are a major source of flavonoids, (compounds that boost our neural connections) blueberries are also a part of my “healthy brain breakfast”.

Many people are concerned about eating eggs. They have garnered a bad reputation in recent years and one that many of us believe no longer holds water. Gone are the days when my grandmother fried up eggs and bacon every day for my grandfather. Today we are much more conscious of high fat foods, and eating everything in moderation. Eggs in particular can be eaten hard or soft boiled, in salads, omelets and quiches, and most doctors today agree that eating 3 or 4 eggs a week is part of a healthy diet. The good news is that one large egg contains 126 mcg of choline (a nutrient that helps to maintain the integrity of cell membranes and is particularly crucial to brain health and function) and just 70 calories! The bad news is that it's high in saturated fat and cholesterol. If you are watching your cholesterol, skip the yoke as all of the cholesterol and most of the saturated fat comes from the yolk. Here is a link to my favorite no crust quiche recipe . It's filled with vegetables and healing spices and will make a great brunch in preparation for shopping on Black Friday, or breakfast any day. Serve it with a toasted whole grain baguette and a salad and you've got an entire meal!

2. Learn to speak a foreign language, play a musical instrument, or a new computer program. Much research has been done which points to keeping our brains active as a way to prevent Alzheimer's. If you use your mind regularly to do complicated tasks, your are less likely to develop the disease.

3. Exercise brings good blood flow to the brain, encouraging new cell growth. According to Dr. Andrew Weill, regular exercise can lower your risk for Alzheimer's disease by 30 – 50%! Wow! That gets my vote.

4. Keeping socially active and physically active are also important preventative measures. I suggest combining social activities with a daily exercise routine for maximum benefit. Walk with friends, play Wii games with your grandkids, or play golf, tennis and other group physical activities. When you are part of a group, everyone tends to keep everyone else motivated so it's less likely that you'll skip!

5. De-stress your life. Learn meditation techniques, deep breathing and other relaxation methods. When we're under stress, stress hormones are released into our bodies, and too many of these stress hormones cause all of our organs and glands to work harder, increasing our risk for Alzheimer's and other diseases.

And since this is also National Caregivers Month, let's take a moment at our Thanksgiving dinner table to remember everyone who is providing care to their family members, or working as a caregiver. These jobs are often referred to as “thankless” so let's take the time to give thanks and say a blessing for caregivers all over the world.


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