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Beyond Standard Anti-Dementia Therapies: Diet, Exercise, Socialization, and Supplements

  • Gary W. Small (a1)

Extract

Several lines of evidence point to lifestyle choices that may improve brain health. Genetic factors are important to the process of aging, especially as it relates to vulnerability to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), but non-genetic factors clearly have a role as well. This paper highlights studies suggesting that diet, exercise, socialization, and supplements may protect the brain from age-related decline.

Observational evidence has indicated that several dietary practices can help maintain the health of one’s brain. The first such practice is to moderate one’s caloric intake. Illnesses related to obesity, such as diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol, are associated with poorer brain health. The second is to increase one’s intake of antioxidant foods, such as fresh fruits, and vegetables. The third is to increase intake of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish and olive oil. These fats in the diet may be associated with lower risk of dementia. Finally, consuming low glycemic-index carbohydrates instead of high glycemic-index carbohydrates, which spike blood sugar levels and are associated with higher risk of type 2 diabetes, may benefit the brain.

Many studies have been conducted on the connection between a lower risk for AD and healthy diet. While there are not much data from randomized-controlled trials, epidemiologic studies support the theory that diet can have an impact on vulnerability to AD.

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Beyond Standard Anti-Dementia Therapies: Diet, Exercise, Socialization, and Supplements

  • Gary W. Small (a1)

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