Dementia is a growing concern for people as they age, as brain decline is more common in people over the age of 65. The term dementia can refer to a number of conditions, but the main cause in the UK is Alzheimer’s disease. It can be difficult at first to differentiate between general condition and signs of old age.
Memory loss, for example, like forgetting place names and objects, is a common warning sign of the brain condition.
However, there is a distinct behavior change that can help detect Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the NHS, sufferers tend to become less flexible and more hesitant to try new things.
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Mediterranean diets are traditionally rich in fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains, with moderate consumption of fatty fish and dairy products, and low in meat, sugar and saturated fat.
Alzheimer Society says high levels of antioxidants from high intake of fruits and vegetables can help protect against some of the brain cell damage associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as boost protein levels in the brain that protect brain cells from this damage.
As the health organization explains, inflammation in the brain is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Some suggest that the diet reduces the signs of this inflammation.
“Diet is also linked to lower cholesterol levels, which recent research suggests may be associated with memory and thinking problems,” adds the Alzheimer Society.
Exercise has also been linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s.
Several studies have focused on how moderate exercise is linked to Alzheimer’s biomarkers.
These physical signs of the disease, such as the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid in the brain, often appear before symptoms like memory loss.
In an article, the researchers compared information on people whose parents probably had Alzheimer’s.
They found that people over the age of 60 who reported doing at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five days a week had fewer of these biomarkers and less memory and cognitive skills.
For optimal health benefits, the NHS recommends aiming for at least 150 minutes of exercise each week.
Depending on the health agency, this could be moderate aerobic activity (such as cycling or brisk walking), or as much as you can.