A Prescription for Dementia Prevention
If you’ve ever played a party game that asks you to make difficult decisions, you may have run into a question like this one: Would you rather enjoy good physical health all of your life or good mental health all of your life?
As it turns out, it may be possible to have both.
There is no shortage of studies and reports indicating a healthy diet and regular exercise will help reduce the risk of developing heart disease or other illnesses. Now, research suggests diet and exercise can help prevent dementia.1
Roughly 5 percent of the world’s age 60 and older population has dementia – and some people are afflicted at any earlier age. Dementia causes disability and dependency in older people and can have a profound effect on the people affected, as well as their families, caregivers, and communities.2
The World Health Organization (WHO) released guidelines intended to help people reduce the risk. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained, “In the next 30 years, the number of people with dementia is expected to triple…The scientific evidence gathered for the guidelines confirm what we have suspected for some time, that what is good for our heart, is also good for our brain.”1, 3
WHO guidelines and other resources offered these dementia-prevention tips:
- Just do it. Make a point of moving every day. Take a five- or 10-minute walk at lunchtime. Weed the garden after work. Take a bike ride around the block each evening. Start with just a few minutes a day and increase the amount of activity when you’re ready for more. Stick with it. Forming a habit takes time.4
- Become a joiner. Isolation may be a contributing risk factor when it comes to dementia, so make sure you spend time with people – even if you’re not sure you’ll like it. Attend family gatherings, have coffee with friends, volunteer for a favorite cause, or join a gym. Engaging with others can help keep your brain limber.1
- Invite a friend. Having the emotional support of someone else can help you stay on track when it comes to exercise and social activities. Ask a friend or neighbor to walk, take a class, volunteer, or share meals with you.5
- Eat like an Italian. The WHO guidelines suggest eating a Mediterranean diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, and legumes. In addition, consider limiting your intake of meat and dairy products. It’s also a good idea to avoid sugar, refined grains, trans fats, and processed foods. If that seems extreme, practice moderation.1, 6
- Talk with your doctor. Before making any dramatic changes to your diet or exercise routine, discuss the plan with your primary care physician. This is especially important if you have any chronic conditions.
A healthy diet and exercise have always been the basic building blocks of good physical health. As it turns out, they play an important role in good mental health, too!
A Grilled Treat for the Vegetarians You Love
If you like to entertain when the weather is nice, it’s handy to have a great grill recipe for the herbivores among your family and friends. This recipe from Martha Stewart is sure to leave your guests asking for second helpings.
Grilled Eggplant Parmesan7
4 medium tomatoes (1-1/2 pounds total), halved
1 shallot, halved lengthwise
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 large eggplants (2 pounds total), cut lengthwise into 1-inch planks
1 pound fresh salted Mozzarella cheese, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
1 loaf rustic bread, such as ciabatta, for serving
Preheat grill to medium-high.
Brush cut sides of tomatoes and shallot with 1 tablespoon of oil. Grill, cut-side down, until charred in spots (4 to 5 minutes). Flip and continue cooking until vegetables soften slightly (2 to 3 minutes more). Transfer to a cutting board. When cool enough to handle, roughly chop and transfer to a bowl; season with salt and pepper.
Brush both sides of the eggplant planks with the remaining olive oil. Season them with salt and pepper. Grill, turning once, until lightly charred in places and almost tender (4 to 5 minutes per side). Transfer to a plate.
Top the eggplant with the Mozzarella. Return to grill and cook, covered, until cheese melts (1 to 2 minutes). Top evenly with tomato mixture, sprinkle with basil, drizzle with oil.
Serve with torn rustic bread.
Three Strategies for Avoiding Robocalls
Here’s a job robots are doing: Placing robotic calls. Some robocalls are annoying and legitimate, like appointment reminders. Others are annoying and nefarious. In April 2019, 4.9 billion robocalls were made in the United States. That’s 163 million calls a day, 6.8 million an hour, or 14.9 per person. Almost one-half of the calls – 45 percent – were from scammers, according to YouMail.9
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a move that will allow phone companies to block robocalls.10 In the meantime, AARP suggests adopting one or more of these strategies:11
- Don’t engage. If you answer and it’s a robocall, hang up immediately.
- Don’t answer. If you don’t know the number, don’t answer it. The same goes for calls marked ‘unknown caller.’ If it’s a legitimate call, they’ll leave a message. If they don’t, you can google the number or block it.
- Use a call blocking app or service. There are a variety of call-filtering options available. Consumer Reports has done research into the options, which may help you decide which to try.12
Until issues related to robocalls are addressed, you’ll have to rely on your good judgment. If there is ever a question, remember, the government and legitimate businesses won’t ask you to pay them in gift cards or other forms of money that are difficult to trace.