Since 1983, Americans have observed Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month in June to raise awareness about the disease and the care required by those who are living with Alzheimer’s. Over the last 40 years, scientists have learned a lot about the causes of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia and are continuing to study how to prevent or delay the onset of these chronic conditions. To maintain or improve your mental longevity, consider implementing these 7 super ways to show your brain some love.
1. Staying Active
Engaging in regular, sustained aerobic activity (such as 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 days per week) has been shown to reduce people’s risk of dementia by 30% and Alzheimer's dementia specifically by 45%. The many studies looking at the effects of aerobic activity on brain health varied on the types of activities they studied. One study even showed that daily activities such as yard work and taking a brisk walk showed benefits. Doctors and scientists are now looking at which types of exercise are best for preventing dementia, but for now, we know that our recommended exercise is good for our cognitive function as well as our physical health.
2. Prioritize Sleep
Make sure to prioritize sleep. Scientists are still learning about the correlation between sleep and dementia risk, but some studies have shown that sleep deprivation could increase our likelihood of developing dementia by 20%. Another study suggests that sleeping fewer than 6 hours per night during middle age might also increase our dementia risk. If you have trouble sleeping, try to create a consistent sleep schedule and make your bedroom a haven for rest.
3. Keep your Brain Active
Being a life-long learner helps reduce your risk of memory loss and dementia. Sign up for a college class or a continuing education class at your local community college. Many colleges and universities offer reduced tuition for seniors. If those aren’t available where you live, there are many online courses available. It is also important to challenge your brain. Puzzles, strategy games, and new activities are all brain healthy as well as fun.
4. Stay Socially Engaged.
Maintaining an active social life has been linked to improved mental health, reduced stress, and lowering our risk of developing dementia. Finding social activities that are meaningful to you such as volunteering, joining a gardening club, or going dancing will ensure that you will want to participate. If mobility or transportation are issues for people, there are many ways to engage with real people online.
5. Protect your Heart Health.
The same risk factors that influence heart disease are linked to cognitive decline. Try to sustain a healthy weight, control your blood sugar, and maintain healthy blood pressure and, if you smoke, quit, in order to protect your heart and your mind.
6. Protect Your Head
Studies have linked head injuries with increased risk for dementia and Alzheimer's. Wear a helmet when riding a bike or playing contact sports, wear your seatbelt in the car, and avoid falls. Your head is carrying around precious cargo.
7. Eat Healthfully
Doctors suggest a diet that contains a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and healthy fats, such as the Mediterranean Diet, is best for helping reduce our risk of dementia. Newer studies are linking oxidative stress and dementia. Though those studies are ongoing, there is some evidence to believe that eating a diet rich in antioxidants can help reduce our risk of dementia as we age. Aronia berries have the highest levels of antioxidants of any berry and are a delicious way to help protect your body.
It is reassuring to know that there are things we can do to help reduce our risks of developing dementia and Alzheimer's as we age. As part of your healthy lifestyle, including Superberries Aronia berry products in your and your family’s daily diet can help maintain your brain health as well as benefit your whole body.