Continuing with our look at dementia, which will be a focus in 2022, I wanted to share with you some ways to reduce your risk of getting dementia and keeping your brain healthy. And whilst people tend to think about these methods later in life, it’s important to think about keeping your brain healthy in any part of life.
As well as Dementia Experts say that keeping your brain healthy in your forties and fifties is critical when it comes to preventing dementia. But whenever you decide to make changes to keep your brain healthy, you would see a great overall benefit to your health!
This episode has been sponsored by Cognitive Psychology: A Guide To Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Ways To Keep Your Brain Healthy:
We’ve all heard the different ways that smoking damages your physical health and it links to a number of different medical conditions. But in terms of your mind and mental health, studies have shown that smoking increases your risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer’s and Vascular Dementia.
In addition, as psychology students and professionals, we all know the psychology of addiction and why it is hard to give up smoking. But maybe thinking about it as a way to protect your brain, reduce your risk and preserve your cognitive abilities for the long term, might just give you or your loved ones the motivation to stop.
As well as there are plenty of professional websites to find tips to help you stop smoking on the internet.
This definitely links into How 100 Year Olds Keep Their Minds Sharp? but as we’re talking about dementia is it very important to stay connected with people regardless of our age.
As staying connected means we still have to absorb lots of social stimuli that keeps our minds sharp, engaged and active. This all contributes to keeping our brains healthy, and this is why it’s a good idea to join clubs, go to senior centres and be active in older age as it keeps them connected to wider society.
Additionally, more and more research is suggesting that enjoyable face to face interactions can slow the symptoms of dementia. For example, deteriorating memory as listening and responding to people requires quick thinking and responding.
Keeping Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol In Check
Something I’m starting to notice is how many different areas of psychology dementia fits into as it touches on clinical psychology, cognitive psychology, biological psychology and more.
And that’s what’s interesting about dementia.
Anyway, having high blood pressure and high cholesterol can cause you to experience a lot of different health problems, so it’s important to keep them in check. As well as keeping them in check does reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Consequently, if you wanted to reduce your cholesterol, you could reduce your consumption of biscuits, cheese and red meats and increase the amount of fruit, vegetables and oily fish that you eat.
Eating Well and Balanced
Now I’m definitely going to define what this actually means because we have all heard this so many times, but no one ever tells us what a balanced diet and eating well means.
Therefore, eating well and balanced is a great way to reduce your risk of developing several health conditions in later life. And what it means is eating a balanced diet could help to reduce your risk of dementia by reducing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
In addition, eating well means eating healthy. But it doesn’t mean cutting fats out altogether as some fats like those found in oily fish, nuts, seeds and avocado do have health benefits. As well as a good balance of fibre, fruits, vegetables every week can go a long way to keeping your body healthy and giving it the nourishment it needs.
And in case I’m losing anyone because this is a psychology podcast and they don’t see a psychology connection. The connection is by keeping your brain healthy (the brain is covered by cognitive, biological and neuropsychology too), it reduces your risk of developing various conditions that can cause your cognitive abilities to decline, which results in your behaviour changing. As well as human behaviour is the purpose of psychology so that’s the connection in case you were a bit lost.
Exercise And Keep Your Brain Active:
Whilst this has been mentioned on the last Brain health episode, I want to remind you of it because keeping your brain both mentally and socially active is vital to reduce your risk of dementia. As it keeps your brain busy and processing information. This can be as simple as learning, doing puzzles, crosswords, listening to a certain psychology podcast (Ha!) or reading nonfiction books.
It’s all about keeping your brain active and making sure it has new information to process. That’s the real key.
I really hope you enjoyed today’s episode and if you want to learn more, please check out:
Cognitive Psychology: A Guide To Neuropsychology, Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology. Available from all major eBook retailers and you can order the paperback and hardback copies from Amazon, your local bookstore and local library, if you request it.
Clinical Psychology and Dementia Reference
Alzheimer’s Research UK- https://www.alzheimersresearchuk.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/YourBrainMatters_Apr2021.pdf
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