Top Health Tips You Can Start Today

Posted on May 15, 2019.

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Older people can reduce their risk of dementia, according to new guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) that identified regular exercise, not smoking, avoiding harmful use of alcohol, weight control combined with a healthy diet, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels could be effective in disease prevention.

While it says age is the strongest known risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia is not a natural and inevitable part of getting older.

Several studies undertaken during the past two decades have shown a relationship between cognitive impairment and dementia, including lifestyle risks such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy diets and harmful consumption of alcohol.

Let’s get physical, like Olivia

In improve heart, lung and muscle and bone health for those 65 and older, WHO recommends people to complete at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity throughout the week, reducing to at least 75 minutes during the week if the activity is stepped up and vigorous.

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If that sounds too much too soon, then brisk walking for 25 minutes a day is a good way to start.

“Physical activity is easily available for everybody and has a large range of beneficial effects and aerobic activity plays a key role in the beneficial effect of physical activity,” the WHO says.

Be a quitter

Giving up tobacco is strongly recommended following on from multiple observational studies over the years linking tobacco as a risk factor for damage to the brain leading to cognitive decline and dementia. And if the high risk of cancer wasn’t enough to make you quit, for more incentive, we’re told midlife smoking is correlated to a higher risk of late life dementia.

For more information and help to quit smoking, contact Quit Line, your GP or health practitioner.

Go Greek but not in a pill

Adopting a Mediterranean diet, one high in fish, olive oil, legumes and fruit and veg, while cutting down on sugar and fat, can help reduce the risk of conditions such as Alzheimer’s. For those looking for a short cut, beware: vitamin supplements were not recommended by WHO as a risk-reduction strategy, given there is no evidence that they work and should be avoided for potential side effects.

Booze Ban?

While the potential benefits of small amounts of alcohol are purported by some studies, WHO advises reducing consumption, to complete abstinence.

The future

In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple.

“We need to do everything we can to reduce our risk of dementia. The scientific evidence gathered for these guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain,” WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says.

For more information about wellness and wellbeing and how we can help you enjoy your lifestyle contact us on 1300 313 000 or email homecare@juniper.org.au