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5 Dementia-Busting Tricks Proven to Work

Here’s how to keep your mind young and fresh.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

Dementia is an umbrella term for a collection of neurodegenerative diseases that cause memory loss and impaired cognitive function. Dementia typically affects older adults above the age of 65, although there have been reports of the condition developing in younger people. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which is currently estimated to affect about 6 million Americans. Technically, there's no cure for dementia – or Alzheimer's – but there are several lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of developing the disease.  Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Harold Hong, a Certified Psychiatrist and medical director at New Waters Recovery, who shares his top 5 dementia-busting tips. Read on to find out how you can prevent or delay the onset of Dementia. 

1

Staying Physically Active

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According to Dr. Hong, "exercise increases blood flow to the brain and promotes the growth of new brain cells. It also helps to protect existing brain cells from damage by releasing chemicals in the brain that affect the abundance and survival of new brain cells. As physical activity contributes to improving mood and sleep, it helps reduce stress and anxiety, which can also lead to better cognitive function."

2

Eating a Healthy Diet

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Dr. Hong explains that "eating lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats helps to keep the brain well-nourished and functioning at its best. One specific type of diet that has been shown to be beneficial for brain health is the Mediterranean diet – a healthful eating pattern correlated with a lower risk of cognitive impairment. This diet is rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, fish, and healthy fats like olive oil."

3

Socializing and Staying Mentally Active

Thoughtful girl sitting on sill embracing knees looking at window, sad depressed teenager spending time alone at home, young upset pensive woman feeling lonely or frustrated thinking about problems
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Dr. Hong states: "Social interaction helps stimulate the brain and ward off cognitive decline. When you're around other people, your brain is constantly working to process information and form connections. This stimulation helps keep your mind sharp as you age. In addition to socializing, mentally stimulating activities like reading, playing games, and learning new skills help keep the brain active. It also promotes new connections between brain cells. For example, one study found that people who regularly read throughout their lives had a lower risk of developing dementia than those who didn't read." 

4

Getting Enough Sleep

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"Sleep is crucial for brain health," Dr. Hong says. He further explains that "during sleep, your brain consolidates memories and removes toxins that can build up during the day. Lack of sleep has been linked to an increased risk of dementia due to its effects on the brain. For example, sleep deprivation has been shown to lead to a buildup of beta-amyloid plaques, which is associated with Alzheimer's disease."

5

Reducing Stress

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According to Dr. Hong, "chronic stress can lead to inflammation and increase your risk of dementia. As your brain ages, it becomes more susceptible to the harmful effects of stress. So, it's important to find healthy coping mechanisms early on. This might include exercise, meditation, and spending time in nature. Don't mistake your ability to tolerate stress for resilience. You must actively work on reducing stress throughout your life to protect your brain health."

Richard Adefioye
Richard Adefioye is a freelance writer with a passion for all things health, fitness, and wellness. Read more about Richard