Dementia, a brain disease that targets a person’s ability to think, remember and reason, affects at least 5 million people in the U.S. alone.
Every three seconds, someone develops dementia but there is no cure.
But there are some proven ways to slow or delay the devastating brain disease.
“If you look at all the things we know that may be associated with the risk of developing dementia, the two strongest are age and family history, and I can’t change your age and I can’t change your genes,” James Galvin, Associate Dean for Clinical Research at Florida Atlantic University, told Ivanhoe.
While you might not be able to stop dementia altogether, you may be able to delay it.
The World Health Organization recently released its first set of guidelines for reducing the risk of dementia.
The list includes avoiding smoking and excessive amounts of alcohol.
What does help? Exercise! Adults, including the elderly, should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a week.
“The data’s pretty solid that physical activity and exercise helps one maintain brain health,” said Glenn Smith, with the Department of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Florida.
Experts also suggest consuming a Mediterranean diet that contains fresh fruits and veggies. Controlling weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol can also reduce your risk.
And the new guidelines support brain training. A recent study of more than 19,000 older adults found people who did word or number-based puzzles had a short-term memory capacity of someone eight years younger.
The World Health Organization’s report warns against using supplements like B vitamins, antioxidants, omega-threes and gingko saying there’s no evidence that they lower dementia risk.