Friday, July 19, 2013

4 Easy Ways to Stave Off Dementia

Keeping your brain sharp with activities like crosswords could help prevent Alzheimer's.
Keeping your brain sharp with activities like crosswords
could help prevent Alzheimer's.
Image: Shutterstock

Alzheimer’s is a nasty disease. For those of us who have seen it at its worst, we know it’s something we never want to experience for ourselves. Watching a loved one struggle with dementia is more painful than I would have ever imagined. It’s terrifying as well; what may have started off as repeating simple questions or telling the same story a few times in one setting very quickly becomes forgetting who your children are and how to get home.

There’s still a lot we don’t know about Alzheimer’s, but one thing researchers do believe is that there are a few simple things you can do to help stave off dementia. And you know me; I’m all about prevention. Check out these 4 tips from the Alzheimer’s Association.

Keep up physical activity. Yes, here’s one more reason to stay active and fit! Exercising increases blood flow to the brain, which keep sour brain cells healthy and promotes the growth of new brain cells. Heart attack, stroke, and diabetes are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s, and exercise has been proven to reduce the risk of those as well.

Eat right. Eating a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet full of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables will help prevent stroke and brain cell damage. This is one place where having lots of antioxidants can be a big help!

Up the chit-chat. Spending time with friends, family, and colleagues does you a world of good. Not only can it make you more physically active, but it also helps keep you mentally sharp and less stressed. That’s nothing but good news for brain cell connections.

Do more crosswords. Or, if you don’t like crosswords (how can you not?!), try other mentally stimulating games and puzzles. Like any muscle, the brain has to be exercised to stay strong. If you want strong brain cells and connections, you’ve got to get your brain workout on!

These tips are certainly no guarantee, but I’d take them over nothing any day. Besides, all four of these options are also things that can help you lead a happier and healthier life in general.