Cognitive fitness is recognised as a way to prevent dementia, similar to how physical fitness reaps health benefits. Maintaining good cognitive fitness involves the following lifestyle factors:

  • Eat a nutritious diet, such as a combination of Meditarranean and DASH diet (called MIND – Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) which can reduce Alzheimers by 53%. More whole grains, salad, vegetables, nuts, beans, poultry, fish and berries, and less fried food, cheese, red meats, butter and sweets
  • Exercise daily, which helps with verbal fluency and memory, concentration and memory. Even 20 minutes regularly helps
  • Get adequate, good quality sleep, which helps eliminate amyloid proteins from forming plagues in our brains (that leads to Alzheimers). But too much might not be good (more than 9 hours daily)
  • Manage stress otherwise it can build up – cortisone, a hormone produced with acute or chronic stress, is linked to memory decline. Ensure any trauma or grief is adequate dealt with
  • Connect with others, given adults who live alone are twice as likely to develop dementia
  • Keeping active – a large study showed that doing puzzles, together with exercise, routine activities of daily living, plus some form of community (e.g. singing), helped prevent decline in cognitive abilities after a year

Our lifestyle choices are important as we all get older – keeping fit and active, eating well, getting good sleep, staying connected and dealing with stress are key.

References:

  • https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/blog/there-link-between-stress-and-dementia-risk
  • https://www.healthcentral.com/article/mind-diet-and-alzheimers-risk-reduced
  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/cognitive-fitness-ecourse-apr2020-test?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=EL20200728-CognitiveFitness&utm_id=2320216&dlv-emuid=70371c38-e785-4df0-b856-31807a40cf0b&dlv-mlid=2320216
  • https://www.healthline.com/health-news/how-sleep-cleanses-your-brain-and-helps-lower-your-dementia-risk
  • https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/what-your-sleep-habits-reveal-about-your-dementia-risk
  • https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/1321855/dementia-exercise-alzheimers-disease-symptoms-signs-workout-this-morning
  • https://www.everydayhealth.com/alzheimers/the-loneliness-dementia-link.aspx#:~:text=On%20the%20flip%20side%2C%20the%20risks%20of%20isolation,even%20more%20complex%20once%20a%20person%20has%20dementia
  • https://www.verywellhealth.com/do-crossword-puzzles-prevent-dementia-98429