Recognising a loved one, knowing where you live and being able to use a knife and fork are daily occurrences that we may be taking for granted.
These tasks could one day be a daily struggle and near impossible. Alzheimer’s Research UK have predicted that globally, the number of people living with dementia will increase from 50m in 2018 to 152m in 2050, a 204% increase. Currently there is no exact way to prevent all types of dementia, but the NHS agrees that a healthy lifestyle can help reduce the risk of developing dementia when you’re older.
Here are 8 simple steps that you can take to reduce your risk of dementia:
1. Sharpen your mind with spinach on your plate
Spinach is a good source of folic acid and vitamin C, both of which are needed for the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. “Spinach, like other green vegetables, is also a source of chlorophyll, which may favour the absorption of iron and promote red blood cell growth, to improve oxygen transport around the body and to the brain,” explains Dr Marilyn Glenville, leading UK Nutritionist and author of Natural Solutions to Dementia and Alzheimer’s (www.marilynglenville.com).
2. Could the key be the Ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a very low carb, high fat diet and the purpose of this is to force the body into a fat-burning state, burning fats instead of carbohydrates for fuel. “A ketogenic diet may be helpful for people with Alzheimer’s disease. Research has found that in people with this condition, the brain can’t use glucose (our body’s main source of energy) as easily as it should.The brain is basically starved of energy, and this may contribute to the symptoms and progression of the disease. But ketones, which are produced naturally in the body when we follow a ketogenic diet, can act as an alternative source of energy for the brain and may help relieve symptoms or even help to stop the Alzheimer’s getting worse.
3. Boost brainpower with Beetroot
Beetroot contains nitrates, which convert to nitric oxide in the body. “Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator (relaxes and opens up the blood vessels), favouring circulation and improving delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, including the brain. Beetroot is also thought to stimulate the production of red blood cells, also helpful for oxygen transport and delivery,” explains Cassandra.
4. Boost your brain health with vitamin
Research suggests that the B vitamins play an important role in fighting against age-related cognitive decline. Most B vitamins can be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, meat and fish. Vitamin B12 however, is found only in animal foods, so if you’re a vegetarian or vegan, you may be lacking in this vitamin.
5. Be wary of PPI medication
There are certain medications that can increase your risk of getting dementia. “PPIs are a medication that help reduce acid reflux, and they are now thought to increase the risk of developing dementia by 44 per cent because they increase the level of beta-amyloid in the brain,” explains Marilyn.
6. Sleep away your chances of memory loss
“Make sure you get enough sleep. Too little sleep increases your risk for Alzheimer’s because beta-amyloid protein is cleared away during sleep when your cerebrospinal fluid washes out toxins from your body. The best sleep position for this to happen is on your side,” explains Marilyn.
7. Opt for better brain health with Omega 3
A poor diet can age your brain by not providing enough of the right nutrients to nourish and protect it. Omega-3 DHA from oily fish is vital for our brain structure and is essential for our nerves, and antioxidants that help to protect and prevent damage. If you don’t eat oily fish – such as salmon, sardines, mackerel or trout – at least two to three times a week.