Keeping Your Brain Young: How to Fight Against Dementia
The Alzheimer’s Society believes that the number of people in the UK with dementia is rising. According to Dementia UK’s most recent research, in 2013, there were 815,827 people in the country suffering from dementia. This is 1.3% of the population in total. Gauging by current growth, it’s anticipated that there will be 856,700 people with dementia by 2015.
More alarmingly, if current trends continue without intervention, it’s thought that the country will see a 40% increase in sufferers over the next 12 years.
Dementia: An Inevitable Part of Aging?
Although a certain level of brain decline is inevitable with age, dementia is not. In fact, there are certain activities and lifestyle changes you can make to ensure that you keep your brain as healthy as possible, maintaining more youthful levels of cognitive ability and awareness.
Engage Your Brain and Beat the Aging Effects of Dementia
- Boost flow of blood to the brain. In order to perform, your brain requires around a litre of blood to flow through it every minute. As a result, in order for this steady flow to take place, your heart must be in good working order. The most effective way to achieve this is to exercise regularly. Exercise will help ensure that oxygen-rich blood is continually pumped to the brain, helping you brain to function more effectively for longer.
- Eat the right foods. There are several foods that are valued for their brain-boosting nutrients. Blueberries help to reduce oxidative stress on the brain, nuts such as almonds contain vitamin E, which helps prevent cognitive decline, and even coffee can help to ward off the approach of dementia, as it is high in protective antioxidants.
- Keep your brain active. According to the Einstein Ageing Study, certain activities provide challenge to the brain, which encourages it to continually restructure and build new connections. This helps to develop ‘cognitive reserve’, which helps to delay the onset of dementia. Great activities include reading, learning a musical instrument, playing chess and learning to dance.
- Cut back on free radicals. Free radicals, which can be found in cigarettes, car fumes and fatty foods, are highly damaging to brain tissue. As a result, it’s a good idea to increase your intake of foods that contain antioxidants, as these can help reduce the effects of free radicals. Most fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants. In addition to topping up on your nutrients, aim to cut free radicals by stopping smoking and cutting back on fatty foods, particularly red meat.
- Lose weight. Believe it or not, obesity also contributes to increased risk of developing dementia, due to the fact that it increases blood pressure. If you’re not sure whether you’re obese or not, ask your doctor to check your BMI.
Adopting a Healthy Attitude
By eating well, exercising often and keeping your brain actively challenged whenever you can, you’ll be giving yourself the best opportunity to delay the onset of dementia, or even avoid it completely.