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.
What can be done?
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 prevention of alzheimer’s and other brain diseases at alz.org: 10 Ways to Love Your Brain.
- Ngandu, Tiia, Jenni Lehtisalo, Alina Solomon, Esko Levälahti, Satu Ahtiluoto, Riitta Antikainen, Lars Bäckman et al. “A 2 year multidomain intervention of diet, exercise, cognitive training, and vascular risk monitoring versus control to prevent cognitive decline in at-risk elderly people (FINGER): a randomised controlled trial.” The Lancet 385, no. 9984 (2015): 2255-2263.
- Leary, Mark R., and Roy F. Baumeister. “The need to belong: Desire for interpersonal attachments as a fundamental human motivation.” In Interpersonal Development, pp. 57-89. Routledge, 2017.
- Hikichi, Hiroyuki, Katsunori Kondo, Tokunori Takeda, and Ichiro Kawachi. “Social interaction and cognitive decline: Results of a 7-year community intervention.” Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Translational Research & Clinical Interventions 3, no. 1 (2017): 23-32.
- Siddarth, Prabha, Alison C. Burggren, Harris A. Eyre, Gary W. Small, and David A. Merrill. “Sedentary behavior associated with reduced medial temporal lobe thickness in middle-aged and older adults.” PloS one 13, no. 4 (2018): e0195549.