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Maintaining and improving Cognitive Strength in midlife

The current global and UK stats on dementia and cognitive decline are quite something

850,000 people in the UK are estimated to be living with Dementia.

24.6 Million People in the UK that’s 38% of the population know a family member or close friend living with dementia.

1 in 3 people born in the UK this year will develop dementia in their lifetime.

1 in 14 people over 65 have dementia in the UK and 1 in 79 of the whole population.

The dementias are now the leading cause of death in the UK and the projected increase of dementias by 2030 is that it will increase by 40% from now to 2030.

So what are we going to do about it? Can lifestyle and nutrition interventions prevent/slowdown cognitive decline? YES!!!!!

By following some of these called the Blue zones Power 9 what makes people live longer and healthier.

1 Move Naturally

Make daily physical activity an unavoidable part of your environment.

2 Have THE right outlook

Know your purpose and downshift i.e. work less, slow down and take holidays.

3 Eat wisely

Eat until 80% full, eat more veggies, less red meat and less processed foods, drink a glass of red wine daily just 1 though !!!!

4 Belong

Create a healthy social network, prioritise family and connect with your beliefs.

 

Key elements that support brain health

Nutrition

Stimulus

Rest and calm

Less environmental toxins

Movement and exercise

Love community connection and faith

Mild cognitive impairment includes

Forgetfulness

Difficulty concentrating

Words on tip of your lounge

Going in to a room and forgetting why you went in there

Brain fog

Depression

Symptoms worsen

 

Dementia

Increasing disorientation

Increasing difficulty communicating

Increasing difficulty with basic life skills i.e. dressing, cooking and eating

Personality changes

Worsening symptoms over time leading to death.

 

Different types of dementia, it is not one thing they include

Alzheimer’s 62%

Vascular dementia 17%

Mixed dementia 10%

Dementia with Lewy bodies 4%

Parkinson’s disease 2%

Frontotemporal 29%

Others like MS, CJD

Foods you should eat THE MIND DIET Mediterranean –Dash intervention for neurodegenerative Delay. The mind diet aims to reduce dementia and the decline in the brain health that occurs as people get older; it combines aspects of two very popular diets, the Mediterranean and the dietary approaches to stop hypertension DASH.

Fish

Green leafy vegetables

Other vegetables

Berries

Red wine

Olive oil

Nuts

Whole grains

Poultry

Beans

Foods to avoid

Red meat

Butter and margarine

Sweets

Cheese

Pastries

Fried and fast foods

Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis

Neuroplasticity

The brains ability to recognise itself by forming new neural connections throughout life, it allows the neurons in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.

Neurogenesis

Is a process of generating functional neurons from adult neural precursors, occurs throughout life in restricted brain regions in mammals. Response to new situations or to changes in their environment. It appears we are able to teach old dog new tricks and have the capacity to create new neurons, habits and learn new information for all our lives.

Factors that increase and improve cognitive health, neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis

Novelty and new stimulus – neurogenic

Touch via a trusted person as it stimulates production of Oxytocin

Rest/sleep minus blue light

Less stress- cortisol damages the hippocampus (the new brain cell factory)

Meditation and breath work, a calm brain is more functional

Supportive nutrition an anti-inflammatory diet

Community, love/ social support

Movement/ exercise increasing blood flow to the brain

Ongoing education

Learning a new language

Factors that improve and increase cognitive health and neurogenesis.

Playing board game

Less sugar beta amyloid plaques = Alzheimer’s= Diabetes type 111 and age

Less multi-tasking it actually reduces efficiency

Less environmental toxins

Pets – brain calming and encourage exercise

Being in nature- calming and less rumination

Enriched environments promotes brain activity

BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) can be increased with exercise.

 

What we can do right now to help our

Less sugar

Less alcohol

More sleep

Rest, meditation

Less rumination

Lessen environmental toxins

Include brain challenges in to exercise sessions

Stress reduction

Drug management

Improve gut health

Improve oral health

Act now before they are symptomatic