World Alzheimer’s Day – 5 ways to help reduce your risk of dementia
Spreading Awareness on World Alzheimer’s Day
Research suggests that leading a brain healthy lifestyle may help to reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia later in life. The general rule is what’s good for the heart is good for the brain, so both should be well looked after with a balanced diet and regular physical and mental exercise.
The evidence shows that people may reduce their risk of developing dementia by adopting healthier lifestyles. Much of what’s needed are simple activities you can do in your day to day life. Remember, it’s never too late to make any of these changes. Let’s take a look at five ways you can help to reduce your risk of developing dementia:
1 Look after your heart Smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity all damage the blood vessels and, increase the risk for having a stroke or a heart attack, and, it now seems likely,going on to develop dementia in later life. These problems can be prevented through healthy lifestyle choices, and treated effectively if they do occur.
2 Be physically active Physical activity and exercise are powerful preventive medicines, helping you control your blood pressure and weight, as well as reducing the risk of type II diabetes and some forms of cancer. There is also some evidence to suggest that some kinds of physical activity can reduce the risk of developing dementia. The good news is that getting active is proven to make us feel good and is agreat activity to do with friends and family.
3 Follow a healthy diet Food is fuel for both brain and body. We can help to keep it functioning properly by eating a healthy, balanced diet. Some evidence suggests that a Mediterranean-type diet, rich in cereals, fruits, fish, legumes and vegetables can help to reduce the risk of dementia. While we need to do more studies into the benefits of specific foods or supplements, we do know that eating lots of fatty and processed foods which are high in saturated fat, sugar and/or salt is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, and is best avoided.
4 Challenge your brain By challenging the brain with new activities you can help build new brain cells and strengthen the connections between them. This may counter the harmful effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia pathologies. By challenging your brain you can learn some great new things, so how about learning a new language or taking up a new hobby or sport?
5 Enjoy social activities Social engagement may also be beneficial to brain health because it stimulates our brain reserves, helping to reduce our risk of dementia and depression. Try and make time for friends and family, you can even combine your activities with physical and mental exercise through sport or other hobbies.
To learn more and help Alzheimer’s Disease International raise awareness this September visit them at www.worldalzmonth.org!