Brain-healthy tips to help reduce dementia risk
(NC) We all know there are things we can do to keep our bodies healthy at any age, like eating well, staying active and reducing stress. But are there things we can do to help keep our brain in tip-top shape?
It turns out that all the habits you practice to keep your body healthy are good for your brain too because they contribute to lowering many risk factors associated with dementia, like mid-life obesity, smoking, harmful alcohol consumption and social isolation. Here are a few brain healthy tips to think about:
Be active and eat well
You can’t see the impact of exercise on your brain the way you can see it with your body. However, blood pumps through the brain when you exercise, and that can help keep your brain cells healthy. Go for a brisk walk, or dance in your living room to get your heart rate going. Fuelling your body and brain with a well-balanced diet will also keep you going strong.
Reduce harmful alcohol consumption
Drinking alcohol is a personal choice. But drinking too much alcohol can be harmful and, surprisingly, is associated with a higher risk of developing dementia.
There are Canadian guidelines on the recommended consumption limits, which are no more than two standard drinks per day, to a maximum of 10 per week for women and three standard drinks per day to a maximum of 15 per week for men. A standard drink is equivalent to a bottle of beer (12 oz., 341 ml, 5 per cent alcohol) or a glass of wine (5 oz., 142 ml, 12 per cent alcohol).
It is also recommended to have no-alcohol days. You can replace alcoholic beverages with sparkling water with a splash of natural fruit juices, try a cucumber-lime combination, or add mint or basil to jazz it up.
Connecting with others, even virtually, is an important way to keep yourself engaged in the world around you. Not only is social activity an essential part of our mental health and well-being, but it can also help reduce the risk of developing dementia as well as associated conditions like depression.
Find more information about dementia at canada.ca/dementia.
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