Did you know that there is an increasing number of Singaporeans being diagnosed with dementia below age 65? What’s alarming is that some individuals are developing dementia in their 40s and 50s. Here’s the good news. There are steps you can take to help decrease your own risk.
1. Stay Active
Staying physically active can decrease your risk of developing dementia and delay the progression in individuals exhibiting symptoms. Hence, we will recommend you to exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, 5 days weekly. You are encouraged to go for a brisk walk, a jog, a bike ride or a swim. You should also include some resistance activities (e.g. modified push-ups, sit-ups, planks or lunges) to work your muscles and maintain brain health.
2. Opt for a Mediterranean diet
Traditionally, Mediterranean diets are high in fresh vegetables and fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and olive oil, with moderate intake of oily fish and dairy, and low in meat, sugar and saturated fat. On top of benefits such as lower risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, this diet is also shown to help prevent dementia or delay its progression.
3. Keep Your Mind Active
Challenging yourself mentally on a regular basis may help decrease your risk of developing dementia. You are encouraged to learn a new language, read challenging books, play card or board games, and do crossword puzzles or quizzes.
4. Sleep Adequately
Based on research, poor, disrupted sleep is a plausible risk factor for dementia as it results in an accumulation of a specific protein in the brain, which can impair memory. Improved sleep, on the other hand, may help prevent dementia as it is associated with greater clearance of the brain’s protein burden. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep per night.
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