not right with my brain," my dad told me the year before
he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease — the most
common cause of dementia that destroys brains cells and nerves
that carry messages in the brain. He was in his 70s at the
time and the man I had always admired for his sharp memory.
though we sometimes forget things as we get older, dementia is
not a part of normal aging, say experts from Alzheimer’s
Disease International (ADI) which just released the World
Alzheimer Report 2014. According to these experts, "a
whole raft of research studies" now demonstrate that we
may reduce our risk for developing dementia if we follow
healthier lifestyles. Here are some of the key recommendations
from this report:
care of your heart. What’s good for our heart is also very
good for our brain, say experts. That includes strategies to
control blood cholesterol and other markers of heart disease.
smoke. After the age of 65, ex-smokers have the same risk of
dementia as people who have never smoked. Those who continue
to smoke, however, are at much higher risk.
your blood pressure under control. Raised blood pressure in
our middle years of life is associated with a
"considerable increase in risk for dementia in late
life," stated one reviewer of this report.
physically active. When we keep our bodies healthy, we keep
our brains healthy, too, say researchers. Besides helping to
control blood pressure and cholesterol levels, exercise may
directly improve the function of nerves and memory
transmitters in the brain, according to this report. They also
urge more study in this area.
healthy diet. Most promising to ward off dementia appears to
be the Mediterranean-type of diet, say researchers. This
eating style — rich in cereals, fruits, fish, legumes, and
vegetables — supplies key nutrients that nourish brain
development and health such as omega-3 fats from fish and
B-vitamins from cereals and legumes. And a diet rich in fruits
and vegetables supplies a host of antioxidant nutrients that
can protect message-carrying neurons in the brain.
your blood glucose (sugar) levels under control. People with
diabetes have a 50% increased chance to develop dementia later
in life, according to this report.
your brain. Mentally stimulating activities throughout life
can help ward off the development of dementia later in life.
social activities. I really like this recommendation. It’s
based on evidence that enjoying ourselves in social situations
can help stave off dementia.
a gift, this report reminds us. And making good choices can
help determine how well we age.
keep learning, say these experts. Education in early life and
beyond is strongly protective against dementia. Learn more
from this report at