6. Prevent Head Injuries
Injuring your head causes short-term dementia-like symptoms like confusion, memory loss, and changes in speech, vision, and personality. Some head injuries can actually increase your risk of developing dementia later in life, especially if it causes 30 minutes to 24 hours of unconsciousness after initial injury (14).
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina examined 548 veterans with a head injury and 1228 without head injury to yield these results (15).
Protect your head by wearing a helmet while cycling, skating, skiing, or water sports to reduce your risk of dementia.
7. Control Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol-related brain damage, caused by years of alcohol abuse can contribute towards Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome and alcoholic dementia, the last of which are not truly classified as “dementia”. That’s because both conditions are reversible if you gradually reduce your alcohol intake. Your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia also go up with excessive drinking (16).
According to the Alzheimer’s Society recommends drinking no more than 14 units of alcohol spread over 3 days a week. To put it in perspective, 125ml of wine is roughly 1.5 units while 1 pint of beer or cider is 2-2.5 units (17).
8. Track Your Numbers
Since diabetes, high cholesterol, and obesity are all risk factors, it’s important to monitor your weight, blood pressure, and cholesterol. If you don’t know where to begin, ask your doctor for tailored advice on your daily calorie, exercise, and diet goals.
9. Increase your Social interaction
Humans are social creatures, so spending too much time in isolation wears down your brain. In fact, being social is one of the easiest and most important steps towards preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
“Feeling lonely rather than being alone is associated with an increased risk of clinical dementia in later life and can be considered a major risk factor that, independently of vascular disease, depression, and other confounding factors,” writes a 2014 study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry. The study followed 2173 non-demented community-living older persons for three years.
To prevent isolation, find a neighbor to accompany you on daily walks, sign up for a new cooking class to meet new friends or set up weekly phone calls with your loved ones.
By practicing these brain-healthy habits, you can take active steps in preventing Alzheimer’s and keeping your mind sharp. Be sure to support brain health by supplementing your diet with anti-inflammatory food, fish oil, and coconut oil.
Your brain is essentially the command center for your mind, personality, and your ability to understand and enjoy the world. Treat it right and you’ll have plenty of years of memories and experiences ahead of you.