Every morning I clip my trusty step counter to my waistband, intending to reach the magic number of 10,000. My attention to this detail has been primarily to reduce my waistline. Little did I know I’d also been reducing my risk for dementia.
What is Dementia
Dementia is the irreversible loss of cognitive function – remembering, reasoning, and decision making – so much that it disrupts your daily life. Dementia isn’t a disease, but mental disorders can cause dementia.
A healthy brain contains billions of neurons – specialized brain cells that process and relay information through chemical and electrical signals. With diseases associated with dementia, neurons stop functioning, lose their network connections and die.
While dementia has no cure, there are ways – 3 ways in particular – you can utilize to slow its progression and significantly reduce your risk. It’s never too late – or too soon for that matter – to take preventative measures against dementia.
1. Walking More
An analysis of data from research done on 78,000 adults and published in JAMA Neurology revealed that people between 40 and 79 who took 9,826 steps per day were 50% less likely to develop dementia within seven years. (1)
The study also found that walking just 4,000 steps – may reduce your risk of dementia by 25%
Taking a brisk daily walk – between 3 and 3.5 mph – for 40 minutes may reduce your risk of dementia even more by as much as 57%. (1)
2. Eat the Right Way
People who don’t eat a balanced diet rich in vegetables and fruits and overconsume refined sugar, ultra-processed foods, and red meat are more likely to be overweight and have an increased risk of dementia.
Another study published by JAMA Neurology showed that a poor diet significantly increases your risk for dementia by as much as 300%. (2)
Therefore, one of the easiest ways to reduce your risk for dementia is to adjust your diet and eat (and drink) these foods associated with good cognitive health: (3)
1. Leafy green and non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower
2. Fish loaded with omega-3, such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel
4. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and hazelnuts
8. Whole Grains
Eggs contain more choline than any other food other than beef liver. Choline is a nutrient essential for brain cell maintenance.
Research from the University of Eastern Finland analyzing data from 2,500 middle-aged men found that the risk of dementia was 28% lower in those with high choline. (4) The test subjects also excelled at language skills and memory.
Eggs are also a rich source of B6 and B12, both critical for brain health and linked to slowing the progression of age-related mental decline. (4)
Brain Food Recipe: Mushroom + Spinach Frittata
Eating well supplies your brain with key nutrients critical to keeping it healthy. This easy-to-make and delicious recipe is loaded with choline and vitamins B6, B12, D, and K.
• 4 OZ of Cremini, Button, or Shiitake Mushrooms thinly sliced.
• Olive Oil
• 5 OZ Spinach Leaves
• a Touch of Butter
• 6 Eggs (lightly beaten)
• ½ Avocado cubed (optional)
Heat a small amount of olive oil and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, stir, cooking until mushrooms are lightly browned, about five minutes.
1. Crack the eggs into a large bowl, season with salt and pepper, and whisk.
2. Gently tip the mushrooms into the beaten eggs.
3. Add the spinach leaves and mix very gently.
4. Place the frying pan back over low heat – if there is not enough oil, add a little more, then pour in the egg mixture.
5. Gently mix, so it’s evenly distributed, and cook for 10 minutes.
6. Add and distribute the avocado cubes evenly around the frittata, and cook for an additional five minutes.
7. Serve warm.
3. Take Nootropics
Nootropics are natural and sometimes synthetic compounds that have been shown to boost your brain’s processing speed and function for more creativity, motivation, concentration, better mood, and memory.
Researchers have established several ways nootropics may work to impact your brain health. One way is by supporting cellular energy production in neurons and other brain cells by stimulating or increasing energy metabolism. Another way is through protection from oxidative stress and increasing blood flow to the brain.
Choline is a nootropic that acts as a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. (5) Acetylcholine tells your muscles to move and flex. It also tells your brain’s hippocampus to store memories. Acetylcholine plays a critical role in attention, learning, and memory. It’s so essential to memory that deficits are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. (6)
Nootropics that protect neurons from damage, such as bacopa monnieri, are also thought to be useful in reducing the risk for dementia. (7)
One of the best and easiest ways to experience the benefits of natural nootropics is through a quality brain health supplement like Stonehenge Health® Dynamic Brain™. It contains Bacopa Extract, Choline, Phosphatidylserine, and 37 other clinically proven brain health ingredients, including essential B vitamins.
A daily dose of Dynamic Brain™ supports your brain health. It promotes optimal cognitive function to help keep your memories intact, enables you to think more clearly, and boosts your mental energy.
1. del Pozo Cruz, Borja, Matthew Ahmadi, Sharon L. Naismith, and Emmanuel Stamatakis. 2022. “Association Of Daily Step Count And Intensity With Incident Dementia In 78 430 Adults Living In The UK”. JAMA Neurology. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2022.2672.
2. Amakye, William Kwame, Maojin Yao, and Jiaoyan Ren. 2019. “Healthy Diet And Risk Of Dementia In Older Adults”. JAMA 322 (24): 2444. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.17942.
3. Osborne, Mary. 2022. “Diet To Reduce The Risk Of Alzheimer’s (Dementia Diet) | Your Dementia Therapist”. Your Dementia Therapist.
4. Ylilauri, Maija P T, Sari Voutilainen, Eija Lönnroos, Heli E K Virtanen, Tomi-Pekka Tuomainen, Jukka T Salonen, and Jyrki K Virtanen. 2019. “Associations Of Dietary Choline Intake With Risk Of Incident Dementia And With Cognitive Performance: The Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study”. The American Journal Of Clinical Nutrition 110 (6): 1416-1423. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqz148.
5. Löffelholz, Konrad, Jochen Klein, and Andrea Köppen. 1993. “Chapter 23: Choline, A Precursor Of Acetylcholine And Phospholipids In The Brain”. Cholinergic Function And Dysfunction, 197-200. doi:10.1016/s0079-6123(08)62399-7.
6. Saify, Zafar Saied, and Nighat Sultana. 2014. “Role Of Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors And Alzheimer Disease”. Drug Design And Discovery In Alzheimer’s Disease, 387-425. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-803959-5.50007-6.
7. Tamara Simpson, Matthew Pase, Con Stough, “Bacopa monnieri as an Antioxidant Therapy to Reduce Oxidative Stress in the Aging Brain”, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2015, Article ID 615384, 9 pages, 2015. https://doi.org/10.1155/2015/615384