Your immune system has been working overtime fighting off colds and flu viruses. Giving it a boost now will do more than fend off spring sniffles — not to mention the coronavirus (COVID-19) — it can protect against Alzheimer’s disease! That’s because immune cells act like janitors, sweeping away plaque before it builds up in your brain and causes trouble. To shore up defenses follow these simple tips.
Dodge brain aging by brushing your teeth? Yes! Six studies prove that keeping your teeth and gums in tip-top shape — by brushing three times daily — can cut your risk of colds, influenza and even memory loss in half, plus it will help your brain function as if it’s 12 years younger. Turns out the bacteria that cause tooth and gum disease also weaken immunity and speed brain aging.
Take the scenic route.
Adding an extra 10-minute loop to your regular walk could cut your risk of spring illnesses in half, plus cut your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 40 percent. That’s the word from University of Wisconsin researchers, who say daily bouts of motion prompt the release of a hormone (interleukin-1) that keeps immune cells energized, so they quickly kill invading germs and sweep away plaque before it builds up in the brain.
Supplement for pennies.
A review of 18 studies suggests 1,000 mg. of vitamin C daily could cut your risk of viruses, influenza and Alzheimer’s disease by as much as 42 percent. And it costs as little as $3 a month. Study co-author Anne Ruitenberg, M.D., explains vitamin C energizes the immune cells that clear away Alzheimer’s plaques. Note: Check with your doctor before supplementing.
Mash avocado on toast.
Enjoying three avocados weekly and 2 Tbs. of extra-virgin olive oil daily can cut your recovery time from colds and other illnesses in half, plus reduce your Alzheimer’s disease risk by as much as 60 percent, suggests research at Philadelphia’s Temple University. Explains Sandra Kalmijn, M.D., the healthy fats in avocados and olive oil energize the immune cells (macrophages) that chew up invading viruses and troublesome brain plaques. Try this delicious recipe for your next breakfast or lunch:
Avocado Toast with Poached Eggs
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, sliced
1⁄4 cup chopped tomato
1 Tbs. olive oil
2 bread slices, toasted
1 Tbs. torn fresh cilantro leaves
- Toss avocado, tomato and oil; season to taste with salt and pepper. Divide evenly between toasted bread slices.
- Gently crack eggs into pot of simmering water; cook until whites are just set, 3–4 min. Top toasts with eggs. Sprinkle with cilantro and cracked pepper. Serves 2