Reduce Your Risk for Alzheimer’s

September is World Alzheimer’s Month. The purpose of this distinction is a global opportunity to raise awareness around, educate, encourage support of and demystify dementia. While you can’t control your age or genes, you can take healthy steps to lower your odds for Alzheimer’s. Some tips to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related diseases include:

 

Challenge your brain

Find something that makes you think and gives your brain a workout. Try reading, playing games, taking a class or learning a new skill or hobby. Maybe start playing cards, putting together a puzzle or learning a new language.

 

Watch what you eat

Eat a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens and berries. The National Institute of Aging says there are benefits to sticking to the MIND diet — a hybrid of the Mediterranean and DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets. This focuses on plant-based foods associated with dementia prevention- especially leafy greens.

 

Exercise

Physical activity has been linked to a lower risk of dementia because an elevated heart rate increases blood flow to the brain. It is recommended to aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

 

Rest

Get enough sleep–aim for at least 7 hours per night

 

Stay social

Participate in social activities–visit a friend or loved one, join a local club or find other ways to be involved in your community.

 

Quit smoking

Research shows that even in people 60 or older who have smoked for decades, quitting improves health, according to the NIA. Smoking is horrible for your health and can increase your risk for dementia.

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