Dementia can be reduced by exercising regularly, refraining from drinking alcohol and smoking, keeping healthy blood pressure, blood sugar levels and cholesterol, and eating a healthy diet.
According to WHO, the population of people who have dementia will increase by three times the current census. Studies have shown that what is beneficial for the heart also can be applied to the brain.
Make it a priority to be physically active
Being active is one of the best ways you can reduce your risk of dementia. It’s good for not only that but also your heart, circulation, weight and mental wellbeing.
The best way to get started and to stay motivated is to find a way of exercising that you enjoy and that works for you.Try starting with a small amount of activity and build it up gradually.
Even 10 minutes of exercise is good, and make it a point to avoid sitting down for too long.
Here’s a list of suggested activities
- Try incorporating moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, riding a bike or pushing a lawnmower, jogging, or fast-swimming if you are able.
- should also build in some resistance activities that require strength and work your muscles twice a week, such as digging in the garden, or exercises, such as push-ups and sit-ups.
- Take part in activities require both aerobic and resistance such as weight training
Watch Your Diet
Eating a healthy, balanced diet may help to reduce your risk of dementia, as well as other conditions including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, and heart disease.
Not only that, you will feel better when you eat better!
Simple choices like these will make a difference:
- Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
- Eat protein (such as oily fish, beans, pulses, eggs or meat) at least twice a week.
- Limit your sugar intake, and look out for hidden salt.
- Limit starchy foods like bread, potatoes, and pasta.
- Drink 6–8 glasses of fluid a day.
If you are a smoker, you’re putting yourself at a much higher risk of developing dementia. And, you are also at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes, stroke, and lung and other cancers.
Smoking harms your circulation of blood around your body, including the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs.
Tips for stopping smoking
- Talk to your doctor about finding the best support to help you stop stop smoking.
- Set a date to motivate yourself to stop smoking.
- Switch to a less harmful alternative nicotine-containing product such as e-cigarettes, lozenges or gum.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Drinking too much alcohol increases your risk of developing dementia
You should aim to have moderate alcohol consumption. If you are a regular heavy drinker, you’re increasing your risk of alcohol-related brain damage.
Tips for cutting down on alcohol
- Set yourself a limit and keep track of how much you’re drinking.
- Try low-alcohol or alcohol-free drinks.
- Try to alternate between alcoholic and soft drinks.
Keep Your Mind Physically Fit
Keeping your mind active another way to help reduce your risk of dementia.
Regularly challenging yourself mentally seems to build up the brain’s ability to cope with the disease. One way to think about this ‘Use it or lose it’.
Find something you like doing and challenges your brain and make a point do it regularly. Try out a few things and see what you enjoy the most that won’t be hard to keep up with.
- Take a course or learn something new that you find enjoyable.
- Learn a new language.
- Do puzzles, crosswords or quizzes.
- Play cards or board games regularly.
- Make reading a regular habit.
Being social may also help to reduce your risk of dementia. Volunteering, or joining a club or community group are also good ways to stay socially active.
It’s never too soon to take control of your health
Mid-life or earlier is a good time to prioritize your health.
See your physician if you’re concerned about health problems such as depression, hearing loss, or not getting enough sleep.
All of these might increase your risk of dementia.