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How Lifestyle and Diet Can Reduce the Risk of Dementia: Insights from a Doctor

Reducing the Risk of Dementia: Expert Insights and Recommendations

Reducing the Risk of Dementia: Expert Insights and Recommendations

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04:21 30 Apr 2024, updated 04:21 30 Apr 2024

A doctor has revealed the lifestyle and diet factors that reduce the risk of dementia – and why one ‘common’ old age issue should be treated immediately.

Dr Aaron Lam, a renowned postdoctoral researcher at the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, shares his extensive expertise in neuropsychology and neuroimaging, shedding light on actionable steps to reduce the risk.

Reducing the Risk of Dementia: Key Recommendations

Dr Lam emphasizes that while it is not yet possible to guarantee the prevention of dementia, there are measures that can be taken to significantly lower the risk.

According to his research, hearing loss is correlated with an elevated risk of dementia due to reduced social and cognitive stimulation. However, the use of hearing aids has shown to protect against such risks.

Furthermore, Dr Lam advocates for adopting a Mediterranean diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts, beans, and whole grains. This diet is believed to keep the brain alert and healthy.

Smoking and Alcohol: Their Links to Dementia

In one of his studies, Dr Lam reveals that comparative research indicates older adults who quit smoking decrease their likelihood of developing dementia, compared to those who continue this harmful habit.

Furthermore, South Korean research has found that smokers have a 20% greater risk of developing dementia in old age.

Regarding alcohol consumption, Dr Lam emphasizes that excessive intake is associated with brain changes and dementia. A prominent longitudinal study suggests that consuming more than 21 standard drinks per week substantially increases dementia risk.

Image Showing a Mediterranean Diet

Maintaining a Brain-Healthy Diet

Dr Lam recommends a Mediterranean diet as a significant step in reducing the risk of dementia. This diet includes whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats like olive oil, plant-based proteins, and nuts, with contributions from Mediterranean countries like Italy and Greece.

Research consistently shows that adopting a Mediterranean diet also lowers the risk of heart disease by 25% and premature death by 23%.

Recommended Fruits and Vegetables for a Mediterranean Diet







Sweet potatoes


Brussel sprouts
















Sleep and Dementia Risk

Dr Lam highlights the essential role of sleep in brain health, as it facilitates the clearance of neurotoxins accumulated, including beta-amyloid, linked to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sleep disorders, particularly obstructive sleep apnea, become more prevalent with age and contribute to an increased risk of dementia.

Sufficient sleep enables muscle growth and repair, improves brain alertness, regulates blood sugar levels, and prolongs lifespan. It is crucial to strive for seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night while maintaining a good circadian rhythm.

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