These tips might help keep dementia at bay
Keeping the brain active is essential as we age. It is thought that mental exercises, such as puzzles and crosswords, stimulate the brain cells and promote or strengthen neural pathways, protecting against dementia. The same brain response can be gained from learning something new – so if crosswords aren’t for you, think about learning a new language or hobby. It will have the same effect.
Look after your heart:
The same risk factors for heart disease are associated with dementia, especially the vascular type of dementia. So reducing your risk for heart disease should have the added benefit of lowering the likelihood of dementia. The most important changes are stopping smoking, and optimising your blood pressure and cholesterol level. Talk to your doctor if you haven’t had these checked recently – they are easy but important tests to get done.
Optimise your diet:
Further studies are needed to ascertain the exact benefits, but a healthy diet is important for many reasons. It is thought that a Mediterranean style diet, rich in fish, fruit and vegetables, is good for the heart and the brain. Omega 3 fatty acids in oily fish are also found in some nuts, and are thought to be especially important when it comes to
cognition and memory.
Limit your alcohol intake:
Although it has been postulated for years that a small amount of alcohol can be protective for your brain, the jury is still out. What is certain though is that regular excessive use of alcohol is damaging to your memory and mental functioning. Drinking over the recommended daily limit will also contribute to high blood pressure and raised cholesterol levels.
Being connected with the people around you is important for your health and well-being. It also promotes stimulation of your brain cells, keeping your mind active. It is important to note that there is no single recognised factor that prevents or delays dementia. Rather, a combined approach that targets a healthy lifestyle is essential.