Feeling Stress Free – An Alzheimer’s Caregiver Blog Series. Part Two: Nourish Yourself
*Republished with author’s permission: By Teresa Maron
Feeling Stress Free is a stress management blog series for Alzheimer’s caregivers. In this 12-part series we will begin to learn and explore holistic techniques and seek practical solutions to add stress management to your daily routine. I will share stories of caregivers, and their personal tips as well as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia resources. Our second tip is to Nourish Yourself.
This edition of Feeling Stress Free focuses on how to nourish your body to help you create better cells, improve your state of mind and your physical well-being.
Our bodies regenerate new cells about every 21 days. As we become more positive, remove more stress from our lives and feel more Joy, we create better cells. We can reverse the signs of aging and heal disease by creating better cells faster than we create sub-standard ones.
The intention to Nourish Yourself is becoming aware that the value of food goes beyond physical and can add joy and creative expression to your life. The act of cooking, setting a beautiful table and choosing food that is beautiful and fun to prepare changes the act of eating to a daily celebration.
Special Tip-Consider planting a simple herb garden. They are easy to grow, can be placed in a container, or a small part of your flower bed or even in a sunny window. This is a daily spot of beauty that also adds health to your meals.
Is this you? Do you fall into the habit of “forgetting” to eat, or eating while taking care of other duties? Are you missing the daily opportunity to Nourish Yourself and create a better more healthful physical body?
Let’s explore some great ideas that go for preventing all disease and a few that are specific to Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Eat the MIND diet
- Add lots of Vitamin E naturally
- Don’t forget the fat
- Take a B-12 supplement
- Be consistent in when and how you eat
- Boost metabolism with exercise
Martha Clare Morris, and her team at Rush University Medical Center, have collaborated to create a diet to combat Alzheimer’s disease. The MIND diet, short for Mediterranean-DASH Diet Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay, combines the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets in an effort to tackle cognitive decline with “brain-healthy food groups”.
“Even moderate adherence to the MIND diet showed a statistically significant decreased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease,” says study author Martha Clare Morris, a professor of epidemiology at Rush University in Chicago. “Neither the Mediterranean diet or DASH had that benefit with moderate adherence.”
Plant based foods such as nuts, seeds, legumes, greens and grains add lots of Vitamin E naturally to your preventive diet. The more colorful the better! This considered to be much better for you than taking a Vitamin E supplement. The healthy fats like avocados, walnuts and cold water fish make your hair and nails strong, your skin vibrant and your joints flexible.
Here is a sample recipe for an easy to fix delicious dinner.
- 1 ½ tsp of turmeric
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- finely chopped basil, oregano or parsley
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 salmon fillets (4-6oz each)
- Combine turmeric, crushed garlic, herbs and olive oil in a bowl to form a paste.
- Coast snapper fillets with paste.
- Pan fry in a hot pan (no extra oil is necessary) for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
- Serve with colorful mixed raw salad or steamed vegetables.
A great dressing for salads or steamed vegetables is cold pressed extra virgin olive oil with fresh herbs from your garden and a squeeze of lemon or lime.
Even for very conscious eaters, the experts do recommend taking a B-12 supplement as prevention for Alzheimer’s and dementia. And ask your doctor to check your levels once a year. Make sure you are absorbing and retaining this all important prevention tool.
Be consistent in when and how you eat. Create a pattern and natural rhythm. Your body is by nature a habit conscious organism. When you eat a steady diet of soothing, healing foods and are regular about supplements and water intake, your body relaxes and spends the proper time it needs on repair and rejuvenation. When you are inconsistent with your nourishment routine, your body tends to retain water, and put off toxin release until it is fed and hydrated again. This slows metabolism and lowers your feeling of overall wellness.
And one word about metabolism. Exercise. A healthy mind and body is nourished, hydrated and functioning at every level. Use it! A brisk walk 3 or 4 times a week, swimming, yoga and Pilates are all very pleasant ways to enjoy the feeling of health. Give yourself that pleasure.
When you nourish your body, your mind and emotions follow. You sleep better and restore balance. This is the one thing that all the caregivers I know have said in one way or another.
Next time, we will discuss some tips for breaking free of negative emotions. In the meantime, don’t forget to Nourish Yourself.
Alzheimer’s caregivers frequently report experiencing high levels of stress. It can be overwhelming to take care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, but too much stress can be harmful to both of you. If you experience signs of stress on a regular basis, consult your doctor. Ignoring symptoms can cause your physical and mental health to decline.
Community Resources are Available
Adult day programs, in-home assistance, visiting nurses and meal delivery are just some of the services that can help you manage daily tasks. Use our online Community Resource Finder or contact your local Alzheimer’s Association chapter for assistance in finding Alzheimer’s care resources in your community. Use Alzheimer’s Navigator, our free online tool that helps evaluate your needs, identify action steps and connect with local programs and services.
Dealing with Alzheimer’s is hard. Getting in touch with us easy! Our Alzheimer’s HELPline is available all day, everyday, in over 200 languages at 800.272.3900.
About the Author
Teresa Maron writes for the AlzTex Blog on the topics of health, happiness and living stress free.
She believes the very best quality of life insurance is the kind that makes every day you live more secure, more risk free and more peaceful. Now more than ever, there are new choices available. Teresa is a licensed insurance agent with Bankers Life and you can contact her today.