Get started with your risk reduction journey nowSupporting your bodily and mental health, as well as exercising your memory, are important ways to keep your brain healthy for life and also reduce risks for Alzheimer’s.
When it comes to medical risks, your goal should be to prevent or treat these conditions. Talk with your doctor about how to best address each of the below conditions. Protecting and prioritizing your medical health is a key component of risk reduction!
- High blood pressure
- Hearing loss
- Head injury
Chances are you know some habits are bad for you, and some habits are good. If you are at risk for Alzheimer’s, you should prioritize building the good habits and getting rid of the bad. Quit smoking, follow recommended guidelines on alcohol use, and know that your nutrition and movement are important across your lifespan.
- Alcohol use
- Physical Activity
Education and cognitive activity
Finishing high school is associated with less risk for Alzheimer’s! Cognitive challenge as you age is also critical. While science has not shown one best way to challenge your brain, it has shown that the key is challenge, not just staying busy. A few ways to push your brain challenge to the next level are:
- Do challenging crossword puzzles or brain games
- Learn a new language
- Pick up a new instrument
- Read a book on a topic that is new to you
Air pollution has recently been identified as a risk. If you can reduce your exposure to air pollution, you should. For example, if your city issues a warning about poor air quality, follow their guidelines about spending time outside.
Most people do not think about their mood or psychological health when it comes to reducing Alzheimer’s risks—but addressing mental and social health is also very important. Your goal should be to treat depression if present, for example with therapy or medications. Staying connected to your friends and loved ones is also important for brain health and risk reduction. Video chats and phone calls count as connection. Reach out.
- Social isolation
Get moving! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week. Scientists are currently working on identifying the best types of exercise, and while more studies are needed, high intensity interval training (HIIT) may have particularly strong benefits for brain plasticity and memory. After getting approval from your doctor, start small and move daily. Some other examples of exercise at lower and higher intensity are:
- Walk at a moderate intensity
- Tai Chi
Adopt a brain healthy eating plan like the MIND diet. This combination of the Mediterranean and DASH diets supports brain as well as body function. When you are at the grocery store, consider these:
- Leafy greens
- Olive oil
- Red meat
- Whole-fat cheese
- Fried foods and sweets