By Cat Vedder – Wellness Educator/Blogger
June is Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. If the disease can be scary, it goes without saying that we will have to learn to live with its presence in Western societies due to the aging of the population. Despite medical advances in the field, we are still a long way from a proper cure for Alzheimer’s but tips for managing the risks and stimulating the brain are available to everyone.
3 tips for preserving your brain…
Stimulate the brain through activities
Reading, music, manual activities… There is considerable evidence to suggest that brain work can simulate, stimulate or improve the brain’s ability to compensate for cognitive decline. Researchers suggest reading or listening to the news, playing strategy games, or spending time in nature.
Avoiding Social Isolation
Not interacting enough with other people leads to impaired cognitive performance. Alzheimer progresses more quickly in patients suffering from loneliness. So don’t hesitate to go out, see friends, family, organize meals at home… Any excuse is good to escape loneliness!
Managing the risks neurovascular
According to studies on the subject, good brain health depends on heart health. Specifically, scientists advise people with high blood pressure to make lifestyle changes to reduce it over the long term. A 2018 study already suggested that people aged 50 with a blood pressure of 130 mmHg or more had a 45% increased risk of developing dementia compared to those with lower blood pressure.
3 habits to avoid cognitive decline…
Have quality sleep
Several studies show a link between cognitive disorders and sleep (poor quality, night too short, sleep apnea, etc.). The body uses sleep as a ‘basic repairer’, so it needs it to stay healthy. Good sleep, at least seven to eight hours a day, will therefore help you prevent Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
Eating a Healthy, Balanced
A healthy diet can not only help build cognitive resilience, but also prevent dementia risk factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Certain specific diets such as the
Mediterranean diet seems to be effective in that matter. In general, keeping a healthy weight is also essential to combat the decline in cognitive functions. Having high levels of body fat is a risk factor, reduced speed of thought processing and problems of memory. People with more body fat have a higher likelihood of suffering brain injury and perform worse while tested on concentration, coordination, ability to learn and process information.
A diet rich in flavonoids
Adding berries, red cabbage, onion, kale, tea, red wine and dark chocolate in your diet would also lower the risk of cognitive decline. According to a study published in the American Academy of Neurology Journal, the antioxidant properties of flavonoids act directly on brain capacities and help reduce the risk of declining brain function. According to the study, consuming it can indeed reduce the age of your brain by 3 to 4 years!
Have a regular physical activity
Maintaining your cognitive performance also involves sports practice! Numerous studies show that increased physical activity can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. More specifically, it is advisable to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day, five days a week. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s go and put on those sneakers!
Contact The Alzheimer’s Association for more information and to stay up to date on the latest in research.