Here is a to-do list for preventing dementia. New research suggests that ditching the red meat, taking a brisk walk at least three to four times a week, doing the Sunday crossword puzzle or any game that requires thought and sticking to one glass of wine at dinner will lead to a healthier mind.
The research found that combining five lifestyle habits—including eating healthier, exercising regularly and refraining from smoking—can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s by 60%! Lifestyle choices can lower risk even for those who are genetically predisposed to the disease.
Researchers say that, as with heart disease, combating dementia will probably require a “cocktail” approach combining drugs and lifestyle changes. Efforts to develop a cure or more effective drug treatment for dementia have proven disappointing. The fact that people can exert some control in preventing the disease through their own choices is encouraging news. The potential that lifestyle behavior will reduce risk as we age is up to us! The fact that four or five lifestyle habits put together can have benefits for your brain is incredibly powerful.
A study of participants lifestyles on these five was: their diet, their exercise regimen, whether they smoked, their alcohol consumption and their “engagement in cognitive stimulation activities.” Individuals who eat a “high quality diet” of mostly vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, seafood, poultry and olive oil and who avoid red meats, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets and fried foods; and exercise–at least 150 minutes a week, whether by biking, walking, swimming, gardening or doing yard work while limiting themselves to one glass of wine and engage in mentally stimulating activities like reading the newspaper, visiting the library or playing games such as chess, checkers and any games that uses numbers, and do not smoke reduce their chances. About 50 million people have dementia worldwide and that number is expected to triple by 2050.
If you cannot adopt all four or five healthy lifestyle habits studied, aim for one or two, whatever you can do. It was found that making just one more healthy choice, no matter how many you have already made, decreased your chance of Alzheimer’s by an additional 27%.
It’s up to you to help yourself!
Remember, the Robson Ranch Walk to End Alzheimer’s will take place on Nov. 16. This is the ninth year and every year donations grow. Last year, we raised $18,982. There are many choices to donate: walk yourself and ask family and friends to donate in your name by using alz.act.org/robsonranch.com, make a donation to same website without walking, or join a team here at Robson. The team captains are Jane Kilhstrom, Linda Farestad, Gerard and Carolyn Whitman, Terry Price, Mary Beth Fisher, and Laurie Waluk. Call to join their team or to make a donation. Our goal is $22,000!