How can millennials reduce the risk of dementia?

Hello, world! By reading the title of this post, I’m sure some people out there are thinking, “Why do millennials need to worry about dementia?” While dementia diagnoses are typically given to older adults, the disease begins decades prior — even if there are no visible symptoms then. So it’s important that millennials, and younger people in general, start thinking about how they can reduce the risk of dementia now.

Starting healthy habits from a young age can improve your chances for a healthy brain in the future, and here are simple things young people can do today to improve their brain health.

Stop smoking.

According to research and statistics, smokers are twice as likely to develop dementia than non-smokers. When you stop smoking, your brain starts to immediately experience a change in circulation, which can help you manage your vascular risk factors. Anything that has a negative effect on your circulation system will influence your brain health. Common sense says anything that goes into your blood stream will affect your brain because blood travels throughout the body. Here’s a fun fact: Your brain gets 15 to 20 percent of your blood supply. So put down the cigarettes and keep that blood supply carcinogen-free!

Get active.

There are strong ties between physical activity and cognitive health. It has been suggested that engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise will reduce the risk of dementia. Studies show that weight or resistance training is necessary for your body and brain health as well.

Watch the scale.

Maintaining a healthy bodyweight can also reduce the risk of dementia. To do so, you need a healthy diet as well as exercise. Physical activity will only get you so far — a healthy diet is essential for an overall healthy brain. Focus on eating a wide range of vegetables, fruits and whole grains. You should also limit the amount of sugars and fats you consume. The DASH diet and Mediterranean diet provide helpful guidelines for a brain-healthy diet.

Stimulate your brain.

You should participate in mentally and socially stimulating activities since regular stimulation can reduce the risk of dementia. There are numerous ways to engage your brain on a daily basis, so be sure to pick something you find fun and will stick with – adopt a new hobby, join a book club or social group, host or attended social events with friends and family, pick up a crossword puzzle or a book of brain puzzles.

Manage your stress.

Stress has been shown to have severe negative effects on your brain, so it’s important to find coping methods to manage and minimize your stress. For example, learn to say no more often — you don’t have to take on the whole world! You should also try to find something that soothes you when you’re stressed. I count to ten when I’m stressed or annoyed. Some people take baths at the end of the day. A glass of wine doesn’t hurt either (and red wine has some brain-boosting benefits, too).

Young or old, it’s always a good time to change your lifestyle for the better and pay attention to the health of your brain! With a few manageable changes, it is possible to greatly reduce the risk of dementia.

Living in their reality,