A new report published by Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility (GBPSR) and the Science and Environmental Health Network (SEHN) recommends changes in government structure and policies to prevent Alzheimer’s and promote healthy aging. The report, Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging (With a Closer Look at Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Diseases), also covers recommendations for individuals and families.
The authors of the report note that none of these recommendations for individuals are new. In fact, many overlap with government recommendations for healthy aging and with those of the Alzheimer’s Association for brain health. But the report is unique in its scope and in emphasizing the connection between your health and the health of the planet.
“This kind of prevention is relatively cheap, side-effect free, and full of spin-off benefits for other common chronic diseases in addition to Alzheimer's, including diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease,” says Jill Stein, MD, one of the primary authors of the report.
Here are their basic recommendations for healthy aging:
1. Eat healthy foods
- try the Mediterranean diet
- eat lots of fruits and vegetables
- avoid saturated fats and transfats
- eat fish high in omega 3s at least once per week
- avoid sugar, high fructose corn syrup, maple syrup and honey
- avoid foods with added aluminum (certain baking powders, baking mixes, etc.)
- avoid refined products; favor whole grains and legumes (chickpeas, lentils, soybeans)
- consume moderate amounts of alcohol, green tea and caffeine
- eat foods high in polyphenols (turmeric, for example)
- get food from local sources and organic sources when possible
2. Get physical and mental exercise
3. Reduce stress
4. Stay socially engaged
5. Use green cleaning fluids and green building materials
6. Check drinking water quality and filter appropriately
7. Eliminate or reduce pesticide used on lawns and in gardens
8. Reduce consumption and waste; recycle
9. Walk or ride your bicycle instead of driving your car to reduce air pollution and fossil fuel use
10. Assess workplaces, schools and care facilities for toxic substances, work with others to reduce exposure.
You can find more information on these guidelines for individuals by downloading the addendum to their report.