Dementia risk factors you could control
Reducing your risk of dementia starts with your everyday habits. Although some dementia risk factors can’t be changed, such as your age and family history, you do have the option to break these bad habits that increase your risk.
Consuming a diet high in saturated fats
You already know a nutritional, well-balanced diet is essential to your heart and weight. But food’s benefits for the mind are sometimes overlooked. “The brain needs healthy fats, lean proteins, vitamins and minerals to function properly,” says Howard Fillit, MD, founding executive director and chief scientist of the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and the ADDF’s Cognitive Vitality Program. A review of research published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging found that a link between saturated fat intake and a higher risk of cognitive issues – including dementia. The best nutrition you can give your brain is a diet full of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains. Replace butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil, and limit your intake of red meat, instead opt for other lean protein sources including chicken and fish.
Eating too much sugar
The list of reasons why you should lower your sugar intake continue to mount, with one of the newest ones being that a diet high in sugar may trigger dementia. Researchers from the University of Bath and King’s College London tested the brain samples of 30 individuals with and without Alzheimer’s disease for glycation, or the condition of having sugar molecules in one’s system. They found that those with Alzheimer’s disease were more likely to have issues with a vital enzyme called MIF as a result of glycation, according to their research published in 2017 in Scientific Reports. This meant they were able, for the first time, to link high blood sugar with Alzheimer’s disease.