Alzheimer’s disease: 5 top tips to reduce your risk of cognitive decline – expert

Alzheimers Research UK explain 'what is dementia?'

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The Alzheimer’s Society, a leading research charity, stated there is evidence that you can reduce your own risk of dementia. In order to do so, one of the best things you can do for your mind is to move your body. Doing regular physical activity is considered “one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia”.

Exercise is good for the heart muscle, the body’s circulation, your weight and mental wellbeing.

For the best results, a combination of aerobic and strength-building activities are recommended.

Examples of aerobic exercises include walking, swimming, dancing, and hiking, in addition to tennis, and cycling.

Strength-building activities, on the other hand, include heavy gardening, pilates, and working with resistance bands.

The expert charity also recommends “eating healthily” to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

“No single ingredient, nutrient or food can improve brain health by itself,” the charity explained.

“Instead, eating a range of different foods in the right proportions is what makes a difference.”

To eat a healthy, well-balanced diet, the Mediterranean-style diet is highly regarded.

To adhere to a Mediterranean-style diet, the Alzheimer’s Society suggests:

  • Including wholegrain starchy foods in most meals
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and pulses
  • Eat less red meat
  • Eat fish regularly
  • Choose lower-fat dairy products
  • Use vegetable and plant oil for cooking and dressing
  • Limit the amount of salt you eat
  • Make sugary foods an occasional treat
  • Only consuming alcohol in moderation alongside food.

The charity stated that dementia risk can also be greatly reduced by being a non-smoker.

“Smoking does a lot of harm to the circulation of blood around the body, particularly the blood vessels in the brain, as well as the heart and lungs,” the charity stated.

“It’s never too late to quit smoking. However, the earlier you stop, the more brain damage you will avoid.”

Another way to minimise your risk of dementia in later life is to “drink less alcohol” in general.

“Drinking too much alcohol at one time exposes your brain to high levels of harmful chemicals,” the charity pointed out.

People are encouraged to drink less than 14 units per week, and to have alcohol-free days.

Lastly, the Alzheimer’s Society advises to “stay mentally and socially active” throughout your life.

Examples could include puzzles, crosswords, courses, playing a musical instrument, and reading books.

Playing card games, chess, or board games can also keep the brain engaged – even if it’s on a smartphone.

“It’s important to try to keep in touch with the people who matter to you, such as friends and family,” the charity emphasised.

“Having a conversation with someone can also exercise a wide range of your mental skills.”

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