Top Tips for Keeping Your Brain Healthy and Strong
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Recent studies have indicated that individuals can reduce their risk of developing dementia by up to 53% by adopting multi-domain lifestyle habits.
Dr Emer MacSweeney Consultant Neuroradiologist and CEO at Re:Cognition Health comments, “By making proactive lifestyle changes, we can reduce our risk of developing dementia and other cognitive impairment by up to 53%, as indicated by recent research,” says Dr MacSweeney. “Whilst there are many positive developments being made in finding new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, prevention is better than cure and the earlier you start employing lifestyle changes, the better for your brain and your body.”
Dr MacSweeney shares her advice for keeping the brain strong and preventing the onset of brain disease or slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease:
Get moving! Exercise is imperative in promoting a healthy brain and body and is a subject undergoing various non-pharmacological studies to further understand the regenerative power it plays in protecting and repairing the brain.
Exercise has shown to increase brain volume in cognitively normal older adults, it decreases oxidative stress and improves respiration and glucose metabolism. In addition, exercise has been shown to promote the survival of nerve receptors in the brain and support the clearance of toxic Aß amyloid plaques and reduce harmful hyperphosphorylated tau, both of which accumulate in the brain and cause Alzheimer’s disease.
From evidence-based research, Dr Emer MacSweeney advises exercising, vigorously, at least four times a week for 20 minutes, or moderately five times a week for 30 minutes, to help to reduce the risk of developing dementia. Switch one or two of your weekly workouts to dancing for optimal cognitive benefits. Learning and remembering new steps in a dance class activates many neural pathways in the brain, helping to keep it strong, active and healthy.
A recent study has indicated that the MIND diet could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by up to 53% for those following it religiously (35% for those following moderately).
The MIND diet is a combination of the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) which includes green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, whole grains, berries, beans, olive oil, poultry, fish and wine (no more than one glass a day). Foods which should be eliminated include sugar, fried foods, butter/margarine, red meat, cheese.
We are what we eat! The brain and body rely on good quality nutrition to function adequately and safeguard again disease and degeneration. Diet helps promote and strengthen connections in the brain, improve mood and decrease stress.
In addition to diet and exercise, healthy lifestyle habits are important to employ in reducing the risk of dementia and to slow down its progression; these habits included cognitive training, social stimulation and sleep.
Cognitive training can include many activities such as playing games, completing puzzles, learning a new language, playing musical instruments and reading maps that exercise and strengthen the brain.
Not only helps with lifting the mood and reducing anxiety and depression but also improves cognitive sharpness and performance at every stage of life. Research has also indicated that older adults with active social lives live longer.
Plenty of sleep:
Sleep is the current buzzword in health, with the therapeutic and restorative effects helping our brains clear away toxins, plaques and proteins that build up throughout the day and also help us to remember new things we have learnt. Sleep improves concentration, mood and metabolism. It is essential to get between 6-8 hours sleep at night for optimal brain performance.
For further information about improving brain health and preventing the onset of brain disease, please contact our friendly experts.