Dementia is a growing concern in Australia, and the disease, associated with memory loss, remains on the National Health Priorities list. Our aging population means that there will be a surge in the number of dementia diagnoses in the coming years. Diet and lifestyle modifications can decrease your risk factors, and recent researched has reinforced this. Psyblog discussed the research in a recent post called Beat Dementia: 8 Changes Your Brain Will Thank You For on the 5th of October, 2015.
1. The MIND Diet
A new diet could lower the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by over 50%, a study finds. It is known as the ‘MIND diet’, which stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.
The Mediterranean Diet has received a lot of positive attention lately and this combined with the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet looks to tackle diet related risk factors for dementia.
2. Avoid Air Pollution
People who live in urban areas on main roads are at a higher risk of dementia. Long term exposure to moderate levels of pollution cause small bleeds in the brain contributing to vascular type dementias.
3. Drink in moderation
Drinking alcohol in moderation been shown to have a protective factor. A recent study has shown:
Links were also found between increased size of the hippocampus — the area of the brain crucial to memory — and moderate alcohol consumption.
4. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is not only good for the bones; it is also good for the brain. Low levels have been associated with a higher Alzheimer’s risk – in fact, a recent study showed a 53% increased risk of dementia in those who had low vitamin D levels.
In a longitudinal study of 800 women over 38 years, anxiety and neurotic personalities were more likely to develop dementia:
In general, people who are neurotic are more likely to be anxious, depressed, jealous or envious. More neurotic women who were under high levels of stress were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
6. Get a good sleep
Getting a good night’s shuteye is more than just beauty sleep. It helps your brain heal and keep your brain running like clockwork:
Sleep is helping wash away toxic proteins at night, preventing them from building up and from potentially destroying brain cells. It’s providing a power cleanse for the brain… Sleep could be a novel therapeutic target for fighting back against memory impairment in older adults and even those with dementia.
7. Get slow wave sleep
Moreover, get a good night of slow wave sleep. This is the deep type of sleep that occurs in the first three hours of sleep. Recent research has shown that those who do not get slow wave sleep are at risk:
Spending less time in slow-wave or deep sleep is linked to the loss of brain cells that can lead to dementia, a new study finds.
The human body was designed to exercise, but how much should you get to ward off dementia? Experts believe that only a small amount of exercise is all that is needed to have a positive impact on your risk factors. A few 25 minute brisk walks per week were all that was needed, but if you want to do more, the impact will be even better!
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