Mind Games and Meals to Treat Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in America, and the fifth leading cause of death in people aged 65 and over. The number of deaths for this condition increased by 68 percent between 2000 and 2010, and all the while the rate of other deaths decreased. It’s thought that around 24 million people now live with a form of dementia and this number could increase to as many as 84 million by the year 2040. Prevention is, according to researchers, the best form of defence. The two biggest risk factors are age and genetics, and while there is no way of changing these things there are other ways to prevent the problem.


Researchers believe that eliminating depression and diabetes could help, along with prolonging education and upping the intake of fruit and vegetables, could help to prevent the condition from worsening by nearly 40 percent. In order to protect your mental health, you need to be healthy in other areas of your body too – this means taking better care of yourself overall, as well as following specific practices which have been proven to help. Research which was published in 2010 which showed that people with high cardiac output for their body size, meaning the greatest blood flow from the heart, also had more brain volume. This indicates a healthier brain, so anything which could improve the health of your heart could also be beneficial to your mental health. The Alzheimer’s Association states that brain-healthy activities include regular exercise, healthy diet, mental stimulation, quality sleep, good management of stress and an active social life. Naturally, the first two are obvious in a bid for general well-being, but the rest could prove the be a boon to those looking to prevent this condition.


Researchers claim that quality sleep should last around seven to eight hours, and stress management is defined as daily relaxation activities, such as yoga or meditation. An active social life may include volunteering, being part of a social group or keeping weekly dates with friends. Though they may not seem like activities which can make an impact on dementia prevention, when practiced every week they can be helpful in keeping your brain sharp and active. Your diet can also help – there are certain foods which can help to promote good brain health. Dark chocolate, for example, has flavonoids which increase the flow of blood to the brain. Red wine is similarly loaded with nutrients which, when consumed in small quantities, can help protect your cognitive function. People with low vitamin B12 levels were proven to be up to four times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s, so oysters are a great addition to your diet, as are mussels, scallops and shrimp. Ayurvedic remedies hail turmeric as a wonder spice, and it can help with removing plaques from the brain – countries who eat meals with this ingredient in it have lower rates of dementia than those who don’t. Finally, apples have guercetin in them which have been shown to be protective where dementia is concerned – red onions also have this nutrient in them.


So how can you train your brain to be sharper? Well activities are a great way to do this, such as puzzles, life skills and handicrafts. Playing an instrument is ideal for this – a five-year study found that the rate of memory loss was lower in people who were learning to play an instrument. Reading or classes which take you out of your comfort zone are also advised. Puzzles are a quick and easy, yet effective, way of sharpening the mind and keeping the brain active. The best way to sharpen the mind and stay mentally active is education, whether that’s learning a new language or taking an evening class.

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