Dementia Australia is this month reminding Australians ‘What is good for your heart is good for your brain’ as part of Heart Research Month 1- 28 February – a time to love your heart and learn how to take care of it.
Dementia Australia Executive Director Business Development Leanne Emerson said many people are unaware of the connection between heart health and brain health, and that the risk of developing dementia appears to increase as a result of conditions that affect the heart or blood vessels, particularly when these occur at mid-life.
“Lifestyle factors have a significant impact on the health of the brain and making positive changes will benefit your whole body,” Ms Emerson said.
“A healthy brain starts with a healthy heart, being physically active, challenging your brain, being socially active and healthy eating.
“It is never too late for people to modify their lifestyle to lower their risk of dementia.
“There is a considerable amount of research that tells us that looking after your brain, at any age, could improve your health and potentially reduce the risk of developing dementia in the future.
“There are currently 436,000 Australians living with dementia, and without a medical breakthrough this number is expected to increase to over one million people by 2058.”
To coincide with Heart Research Month Dementia Australia highlights the ‘Your Brain Matters’ initiative to emphasise how preventative health measures can benefit your brain and overall health.
The five steps to maximise your brain health include:
Step 1: Look after your heart. What’s good for your heart is good for your brain. The risk of developing dementia appears to increase as a result of conditions that affect the heart.
Step 2: Do some kind of physical activity. Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain, stimulates the growth of brain cells and the connection between them.
Step 3: Mentally challenge your brain. Challenging the brain with new activities helps to build new brain cells and strengthen connections between them.
Step 4: Follow a healthy diet. A healthy, balanced diet that includes vegetables, fruit, fish, grains, nuts, legumes (beans, peas and lentils), and lean meat may help in maintaining brain health and functionality.
Step 5: Enjoy social activity. Social interaction with people whose company you enjoy can help to look after the health of your brain.
For more information on maximising brain health visit the Your Brain Matters website https://yourbrainmatters.org.au