It’s a sad fact that most of us know someone suffering from dementia. We’re familiar with that mental preparation we must undertake before visiting, reminding ourselves to be patient and gentle. We know we must avoid getting upset, because the experts have explained that your friend or family member may only remember later on that you were angry, not why.

In amongst the myriad articles on how to handle and help someone who is dealing with dementia are the articles explaining the best ways to avoid developing this heartbreaking disease yourself. And while it’s important to be realistic and recognize that genes and unavoidable environmental factors do play a role in your future health, it’s never a bad idea to strive for healthier habits that just might sway the odds in your favor.

So, with our health in mind, let’s take a look at the scientific basis for some of these brain-preserving recommendations.

    • Try The Mediterranean Diet

Have you heard the claims that consuming a Mediterranean diet rich in lean protein, healthy fats, and plenty of fruits and vegetables can reduce your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s? A systematic review of existing evidence indicated there is some apparent connection between these types of food and brain health.

The amount of antioxidants you’re ingesting through all that produce likely plays a large role in this relationship. Both these and protein can help protect brain cells from damage. The Mediterranean diet can also reduce inflammation, and Alzheimer’s has been attributed to inflammation in the brain.

There are other studies that don’t show the same link between this diet and dementia. But since eating foods high in protein and healthy fats, and lots of produce, is known to be good for you in countless other ways – where’s the harm?1

    • Break A Sweat

dementia risk reduction working out

Staying in shape can keep your brain nice and healthy!

    • A study undertaken in 2013 explored the link between cardiovascular health and dementia. The results showed that participants in the highest percentile of fitness had a “lower hazard of all-cause dementia” than those in the lowest percentile.

The study does note, however, that most of the participants were healthy, educated, and had access to preventative healthcare. But, much like the diet discussed above, there are numerous benefits to being physically active, and if one more happens to be memory retention, then that’s just icing on the cake!2

  • Stay Social

    Research has shown that taking part in social events, interacting on a regular basis with other people, can help keep your brain on the right track. The Alzheimer’s Association notes a specific study that looked at men and women over the age of 75. Those who were more involved in social activities had a lower risk of developing dementia.

    Like anything, a good balance of various factors will always yield the best result. The study also found that participants who combined social interaction with physical activity were even better off. Toss in a diet high in lean protein, fruits, and veggies, and you might find yourself tearing up the mental dance floor well into the triple digits of old age!3


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Reference

1. NHS
2. Stanford Health Care
3. Everyday Health

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