Last week we talked about the first five of 10 Ways to Love Your Brain. Keeping your brain healthy and happy is essential to potentially reducing your risk of cognitive decline. One in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another dementia. It is also the only cause of death in the top 10 in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed down.
In order to help prevent developing Alzheimer’s or any other dementia, we have five more habits you can adopt!
6) Fuel up right — Eating a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables in fruit helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), may contribute to risk reduction.
- Mediterranean Diet: Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Replace butter with healthy fats, like olive oil. Limit red meat. Use herbs to flavor food rather than salt. Eat fish and poultry at least twice a week. For more information on the Mediterranean Diet visit: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/mediterranean-diet/art-20047801
- DASH Diet: Eat foods that are low in saturated fat, total fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Consume whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Decrease your intake of fats, red meat, sweets, sugared beverages, and sodium.
7) Catch some Zzz’s — Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
8) Take care of your mental health — Some studies link a history of depression with increased risk of dementia, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
9) Buddy up — Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community!
10) Stump yourself — Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.
So this week take a nap, then grab some friends and engage in activities that challenge your mind. Whether its for 30 minutes or 3 hours, you’re working your way to end Alzheimer’s disease for good!