5 Things You Can Do NOW To Reduce Your Dementia Risk

While there has been a lot of research into Alzheimer’s and dementia that’s been released over the past year, we still have a long way to go when it comes to treatment and prevention.

According to ZOE, after a 20-year wait, new dementia drugs are becoming available in some places. However, as these drugs remove proteins from cells, they put the brain at risk of swelling, meaning that people who take them will need regular brain scans.

For that reason, while these drugs are available in the U.S, they’re not approved for prescribing in the UK.

If you do want to mitigate your own risk of developing dementia, Claire Steves, a professor of ageing and health at King’s College London, spoke on a recent ZOE podcast about how you can help yourself.

Simple steps to reduce your risk of dementia

Several lifestyle changes can support your brain health and build up your cognitive reserve.

Eat a balanced, healthy diet

When it comes to diet, Steves said: “It’s about getting as many different-coloured fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible and making sure you’re getting good, plant-based fats.”

Plant-based fats include nuts, seeds, and olive oil.

She explained that this is because the huge is metabolically active and needs a lot of nutrients.

Additionally, colourful plants contain flavonoids which are essential for brain development. These feed gut bacteria meaning that they could protect your brain health through changes in the gut microbiome.

Get a little more active, even just by walking

Of course, we all know that exercise is important for us but Steves said that even walking makes a difference. She said: “get out and walk for 45 minutes at least three times a week. It’ll really make a difference.“
Keep good dental health

Steves said that about 35% of older adults have gum disease, and there’s a close relationship between oral health and brain health.

Stay sociable and engaged

Steves said that although brain training games and puzzles could help, ultimately you might only get better at those particular games.

She said: “One of the most complicated things we do with our brain is interact socially — it’s much more taxing than a crossword puzzle.

“Some physical activity can be mentally taxing, too, like cycling in London or dancing. So, choosing something that exercises your mind and body at the same time could be very beneficial.”