Yes, you likely can reduce your risk of acquiring brain disease. Note that certain diseases of the brain are related to clearly avoidable causes, such as head injuries and recreational drug use. Avoiding these dangers will certainly reduce your risk. Furthermore, a 2015 study in Finland showed that a 2-year-long intervention on the elderly that included a special diet, prescribed exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring significantly reduced the loss of a variety of cognitive functions.1 Studies like this show that your chance of developing brain disease can go down with a few behavioral modifications.
On the other hand, you can’t alter genetically inherited traits that may lead to brain disease later in life. Moreover, science is continually evolving and can’t tell you everything you need to know to be perfectly healthy.
Research on the causes and prevention of brain diseases is ongoing, but based on what we currently know, we can make the following recommendations:
First, take care of your physical health. Inadequate nutrition and exercise can absolutely negatively impact your cognitive functions. A simple way to improve one’s diet is to switch from white flour to whole grains. Incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into every meal is another positive step. Please see the World Health Organization’s Nutrition Guidelines for more insights into what you can do to improve your diet. The U.S. Center for Disease Control has a variety of helpful resources for those wanting to engage in an exercise program:
Second, seek to improve your relationships. Every human being has a fundamental need to belong.2 Research has shown that meaningful human interaction can reduce the risk of brain disease.3 We suggest volunteering in your community, reconnecting with old friends, inviting someone to dinner, and patching up any damaged relationships with family members.
Third, stay active and have a purpose. There is some research showing that physical inactivity can lead to negative effects on the brain.4 We recommend working or volunteering if you are able — even if you don’t financially need to. Fill your life with activity and meaning. Have something to look forward to each day.
Read more information about the prevention of Alzheimer's and other brain diseases at alz.org: 10 Ways to Love Your Brain.