Dementia symptoms: the risk of lower Alzheimer's disease with diet and lifestyle swaps

Dementia affects about 850,000 people in the UK, according to the NHS.

It is the name for a group of symptoms related to a persistent deterioration of brain function.

General symptoms of dementia include memory loss, concentration disorders and mood swings.

But you can lower your risk of dementia – including Alzheimer's disease – by making these six lifestyle swaps.

Feed the food

Certain foods can help reduce the risk of dementia, says Cytoplan's nutritional therapist, Clare Daley.

Eat more foods that contain little sugar, but are moderate in starchy carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, carrots and leafy vegetables.

Be sure to eat a lot of vegetables and foods that contain healthy fats, including avocado and nuts.

"Nutrition is essential for cognitive health," Daley said. "Eating foods that contain little sugar can prevent the development of insulin resistance.

"The brains are very susceptible to damage by" free radicals "and antioxidants provide protection against these."

Improve gut health

A poor intestinal health causes inflammation, which is one of the many chronic health problems related to cognitive decline, said the nutritional therapist.

Improve your gut health by eating more green leafy vegetables, chicory, apples, olive oil and dark chocolate).

"To improve gut health, you need to remove specific foods from your diet that can cause bowel problems," she said.

"Add nutrients and fiber to support gut health."

Get rid of stress

The feeling that you are constantly stressed can actually kill brain cells and increase the risk of cognitive decline.

Some stress relieving exercises can help you be more relaxed at work or at home.

"In order to manage stress effectively, it is important to focus on stress-reducing activities that work for you.

"These can include yoga, meditation, mindfulness, massage, breathing techniques, gardening, reading, listening to music or a diary for happiness and gratitude.

"When we learn to control our stress effectively, we see an improvement in our sleep, energy, patience, resilience, focus and memory."

Good night

The health of your brain depends on a good night's sleep, Daley warned.

"Sleep is vital for optimal brain health because our brain cells detoxify and cleanse during sleep," she said.

"Melatonin is the hormone responsible for a good night's sleep, but as we age, we produce less and therefore older people often experience more sleep problems.

"Although eight hours of uninterrupted sleep may be a dream for many of us, it's important to find sleeping strategies that work for you."

Try to stick to a normal bedtime routine to increase your chances of falling asleep faster. Good food, regular exercise and avoiding bright digital screens can also help you get a good night's sleep.

Perform regular physical exercise

Physical activity is crucial to reduce the risk of developing dementia, Daley said.

Staying active increases blood flow to the brain, which increases the amount of oxygen it receives.

"Aerobic exercise protects the brain from damage and stimulates the production of new brain cells responsible for memory and emotions, which are often damaged due to age and disease," she said.

"Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and thus the supply of oxygen and nutrients essential for brain function, including concentration."

Brain training

"By challenging the brain and stretching it, new connections can be made and maintained.

"Activities that challenge all senses help to maintain processing speed – the more different activities you use, the more you will stimulate your brain in different ways."

Reading, writing, playing games or even cooking new recipes can all help to reduce the risk of dementia.

But make sure you choose the activities you like, so you keep doing them regularly, she said.

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