This past weekend my boyfriend and I took a trip to Tristate VegFest in New Jersey, an annual gathering of numerous vegetarian vendors that come together to spread awareness of new vegetarian products. Upon arriving, we were immediately intrigued to listen to speaker, Dr. Eric Kaplan, who talked about brain health. While he is a functionalist doctor who is knowledgeable on a variety of health related topics, the lecture we attended specialized on Alzheimer's. 

We all know someone who has or has had Alzheimer's. We can see the devastating effects it has on not only the person suffering, but their loved ones as well. Rather than praying it doesn't spread to us as we age, Dr. Kaplan listed 5 ways to prevent Alzheimer's and other diseases today. 

One typically wouldn't associate Alzheimer's with diet, but interestingly enough, Dr. Kaplan said that Alzheimer's is actually being renamed Diabetes 3 because it is caused by a combination of Diabetes 1 and 2. Drop your mindless games like Sudoku and adopt these simple habits into your lifestyle to stand a chance against Alzheimer's and other mental diseases.  

1. Stop Using Aluminum

According to the CDC, the average American consumes 7 to 8 mg of aluminum per day from their food. Researchers have found elevated aluminum levels in the brains of those suffering with Alzheimer's. Not only is this chemical found in food, it is concentrated in pans because of the chemical's high conductivity when heated up and even deodorant. Here are some ways to reduce your aluminum exposure: rather than wrapping your food in aluminum foil, wrap it in reusable beeswax. Make sure to buy stainless steel pots and pans and to buy your produce fresh in bulk bins rather than those that are canned. 

2. Get Enough Sleep

Studies have shown a correlation between lack of quality deep sleep and Alzheimer's. A way to increase your chances of getting a good nights sleep, is to stay away from blue screens like your phone, laptop and TV, after sunset. This will ensure your body is in sync with its circadian rhythm. Unfortunately for college students, Dr. Kaplan explained that the sleep we get before 12:00 am is higher quality sleep than the sleep we get after. Some tips to get a better nights sleep include; establishing a routine, turn on "night shift" when you must use technology, and wake up with sunrise and work out in the morning. 

3. Reduce Stress

Stress can not only start, but quicken one's progress in developing Alzheimer's. Dr Paul J. Rosch's research discovered that "those who reported more stress due to anxiety and depression were twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as controls who did not perceive they were under increased stress." You might be thinking sh*t, all college kids are under a tremendous amount of stress so we are all bound to develop Alzheimer's. However, there are ways to slow down the diseases development. Yoga and meditation are simple ways to reduce stress. If these activities aren't your forte, here's a list of other ways to lower your blood pressure to better your health.

4. Never "Retire" From Life

People need a purpose to keep living. Sitting brainless watching TV all day is like waiting for the day you die. Once people stop working, they sometimes lose their meaning in life. Even once you stop working a full time job, invest in a hobby or explore an interest. Part of staying healthy is staying involved in the community and actively participating in different aspects of your life.

5. Do Something New Everyday 

Similarly to the previous tip, it is important to try something new every day. Doing something for the first time triggers the hippocampus, the part of the brain that fights Alzheimer's. By trying something new your brain will have to work harder and use less frequently used parts. This doesn't have to be a big change like learning how to play a new sport but rather smaller changes such as brushing your teeth with your left hand or walking backwards. 

Don't let the stigma of Alzheimer's being associated with elderly people stop you from taking precautions for your own health. You now know 5 ways to prevent Alzheimer's and why its important to start now. Prevention is always easier and less costly than treatment. I encourage you to analyze your daily actives and see if there are small adjustments that you can make to enjoy a more fulfilled life by implementing some of the tips above.