Considering the 7.7 million dementia cases reported annually, it is fair to say that it has turned into a huge global issue. Although dementia mostly affects elderly individuals, it shouldn’t be by any means considered as normal part of aging. Understanding this condition better helps prevent it from happening to you or your close ones.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is not a disease, but actually a symptoms caused y other symptoms or injuries that impact the brain, such as stroke or Alzheimer`s. It is manifested by decline in cognitive function, including loss in
- Ability to process thought/ thinking
- Learning capacity
This decline of brain function is typically accompanied by loss of emotional control, motivation, and social behavior.
Forms of Dementia
- Vascular Dementia
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Frontotemporal dementia ( A group of disease affecting the frontal lobe of the brain)
7 Habits to Prevent Dementia
1. Adequate Vitamin D
The major role of vitamin D is aiding the intestines in absorbing calcium, zinc, phosphorus, and magnesium. Unfortunately, nearly 45-75 percent of adults are vitamin D deficient.
Currently, the recommended intake of vitamin D for adults under 69 years of age is 600 IU daily and 800 IU for people over 70. However, the vitamin D council suggests daily intakes of 5000 IU, while most health practitioners have started suggesting disease of 1000-10000 IU.
While sun exposure is one of the best ways to boost your vitamin D levels, other good sources of this vitamin include cod liver oil, salmon, sardines, tuna, liver, and fortified yogurt.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fats are of utmost importance for the human body, particularly for learning and memory in adults and early cognitive development in children. It is found in the cell membranes, and higher levels of omega-3 fats in the brain cells are believed to boost their communication with the rest of the cells in the body.
Despite the fact that they haven’t been shown to work for those in later stages of dementia, it has been scientifically confirmed that supplementation in the initial stages may improve the symptoms.
Good sources of omega-3 fatty acids include spinach, walnuts, soybeans, chia seeds, flaxseed oil, and oily fish like salmon, tuna, herring, and mackerel.
3. Leafy Greens
It has been scientifically shown that people eating a serving of leafy greens daily actually had the same cognitive function of those 11 years younger. It is believed that the brain-boosting effects of leafy greens are due to their high beta carotene, vitamin K, and folate levels. While additional research is needed in terms of their role on dementia prevention, consuming them regularly is still a good idea. Some of the best choices include asparagus, kale, collard greens, spinach, and Brussels sprouts.
4. Get Proper Sleep
Multiple studies have shown that sleep deprivation, especially chronic, may notably increase the risk of the onset of dementia. In addition to this, a specific lack of non-REM sleep may increase the risk for memory loss. While sleep is not a successful tool to fight off dementia, it surely does play a role in preventing it.
5. Decrease Inflammation
Chronic inflammation that stems from lack of sleep, poor diet, and stress is not only leading to diabetes, cancer, and heart disease, but it also affects the brain and its longevity. Chronic inflammation has been found to cause alternations in the brain structure and is now associated with dementia and Alzheimer`s.
Some of the best anti-inflammatory foods include probiotics, turmeric, olive oil, omega-3 fats, leafy greens, nuts and seeds, and vitamin D rich foods.
6. Increase Physical Activity
When combined with well-balanced diet, a regular exercise regimen may lower the risk of dementia. Apart from its cardiovascular benefits, physical activity also increases oxygen and blood flow to the brain, keeping it young.
The best part is that the exercise doesn’t have to be intense, as getting a 30-minute walk daily can be of great benefit, too. For optimal results, include some strength training and cardiovascular exercise a few times weekly.
7. Make Social Connections
Growing evidence suggests that maintaining social connections keeps one mentally active and lowers the risk of dementia. While researchers are not sure how this all works, they believe that mental and social stimulations improves brain`s connections on cellular level.
Doing a crossword puzzle and other mind games is quite beneficial, but even more so is doing those activities with other people. In other words, hang out with your friends and family more, doing anything you like to get mentally engaged.