If you are in middle age and are concerned about stroke risk factors (or dementia risk factors), then a good place to start looking is at your hands and your feet! No kidding!
According to study results presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s 64th Annual Meeting, a person’s grip strength and walking speed are good predictors of future stroke or dementia later in life. The study included 2,400 adults, who were measured for hand grip strength and walking speed. These 2,400 adults were followed for 11 years, and 34 of them developed dementia while 70 had a stroke.
Stroke Risk Factors: Study Results
The study concluded that people that walked more slowly were one-and-a-half times more likely to develop dementia compared to people who had faster walking speeds. At the same time, stronger hand grip strength meant a 42% lower risk of stoke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) as compared to people with weaker hand grip strength.
At the same time, researchers reported that slower walking speeds were also associated with poorer performance in memory later in life, along with lower total cerebral total brain volume.
So what does this study data mean to you? Nothing different than what you probably already know: Don’t be a couch potato, stay fit, and keep an active lifestyle. If you are going to walk from your car to the store, don’t shuffle or amble, but walk with energy and a brightness to your step! If you keep an active lifestyle, whether through gardening or workouts at a gym or even just cooking, chances are that you will maintain or even increase your hand strength. And with all of that, you have a decreased propensity for dementia and stroke risk factors!
Other Options for Optimal Brain Function Later in Life
In addition to walking with purpose in your life and keeping your hands strong and healthy, you can also take further steps to keep your brain in good working order now and later in life. You have probably seen the various commercials about online sites where you can “exercise” your brain to keep it active and alert. In addition, there are fun mobile Apps like online Scrabble and other math/verbal apps that challenge your brain.
In terms of supplements, you can also try adding brain foods such as:
- oysters (they do other wonders for your body too!)
- whole grains
- AFA blue-green algae
- black tea
Wow, I vote for chocolate (the good dark organic kind, of course!) for taste. For pure simplicity and results, I love the AFA blue-green algae (this form with the cell wall removed) which I have seen do wonders for brain support for people who need it. Whether these people are facing brain damage or trauma, aging, or senility, the type of algae with the cell wall removed definitely has a supportive effect. Part of the reason is because this type of algae contains tiny molecules that are at the heart of the algae, and these molecules are small enough to pass through the blood-brain barrier, directly nourishing the brain.
For instance, consider this study (from “Edible Microalgae by Jeffrey Bruno, Ph.D.)
“Researchers at Erasmus University Medical School in the Netherlands conducted a three-year study of 5,100 people between 55 and 95 years of age and found that beta-carotene molecules acted as ‘tiny molecular shields’ and may provide dramatic protection against the ravages of aging, memory impairment, and general brain damage.”
The good news is that AFA blue-green algae contains abundant sources of the beta-carotenes discussed in the study, not to mention plenty of antioxidants. The beauty is that AFA blue green algae is a simple natural solution that is convenient to add to your daily regimen. It literally takes just a few seconds to swallow a couple capsules of the algae, right?
So … walk with a good stride, keep up you hand strength, eat good chocolate (or whatever strikes your fancy on the list above), add AFA blue-green algae to you diet and you will be doing a lot for your brain and body, not to mention dementia and stroke risk factors! Very cool!
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