SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Dr. Barbara Bumberry from Mercy Hospital joined us in the Daybreak studio to talk about how people can decrease their risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Bumberry said that adults 71 and older have about a 14% chance of developing Alzheimer’s. By the time people reach 85, they have a 50% chance of having dementia. Currently, there aren’t any medications that really prevent these cognitive disorders.
Prevention can help stave off the effects of these disorders. Bumberry offered a few tips that have been shown to help people stay sharp.
Eat a diet with plenty of flavonoids, which help with cognition. These foods include many with bright colors, such as blueberries, strawberries, apples, peppers, and so on. Having two to three cups of coffee or tea a day has also been shown to help with dementia, reducing chances of developing the disorder by 30%, according to some studies.
As always, exercise is important. Bumberry suggests getting enough exercise — at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise five days a week.
3. Socialize and keep your brain active
People who have richer social lives tend to have less memory loss than others. Any activity that uses your brain can have this effect, such as sports, dancing, non-contact boxing, or learning a language.
4. Avoid stress
Focus on relaxing. Try to stay flexible and go with the flow. Consider practicing mindfulness and meditation. If you’re feeling anxious, do something that relaxes you. Avoid negative relationships.
And, of course, people should get enough sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Try to go to bed earlier and avoid screens an hour before it’s time to go to bed.