Improving brain health through lifestyle

Below are tips based on the FINGER study, led by Professor Miia Kivipelto, which has shown that cognitive impairment can be prevented.

The study shows that by changing specific lifestyle factors such as diet and mental and physical exercise, cognitive decline can be prevented in different risk groups.

Minnesmottagningen will help you make the right choices and support you on the path to improved diet, mental exercise and physical activity.

Advice for keeping your brain healthy

Diet

Generally speaking, eating healthy with high quality and variety is paramount rather than focusing on counting how many calories you eat each day. The body needs a lot of different nutrients and you make the best use of them by making sure you get protein, carbohydrates, fat and vegetables every day. However, these three come in different degrees of utility.

So what is useful and what should you avoid?
Focus on eating food from the plant kingdom such as vegetables, fruits, berries, beans, lentils, husked rice and nuts. Avoid red meat and charcuterie, but feel free to eat fish. Fry the food in good oils such as rapeseed oil and olive oil! Also avoid sugar as best you can. When it comes to alcohol, it is to stick to a glass a day that applies and then preferably white or red wine as the resveratrolet in the grape does good for the brain.

Physical activity

The general recommendation is to do 150 minutes of cardio per week (make your heart beat faster) since it positively affects both the body and the mind. How you move is up to you decide, but it can be power-walking, weight lifting, running, swimming, or any other fun activity you might prefer. If you’re not used to moving your body, turn to your nearest gym to be advised on how to do it. Another tip is to bring a friend to an activity. That way, you get both physical and social stimulation.

Social interaction

Our brains love the stimulation they get from spending time with other people; whether it is over the phone or during a physical meeting, it doesn’t matter. You could, for example, start a book club, join a club or call a friend. It doesn’t really matter what you as long as other people are involved.

Exercise your brain

20 minutes of focused thinking every day is the recommended amount of time for maintaining a powerful brain and cognitive ability. Train the brain, not by passive activities such as watching TV, but by playing sudoku, chess, or reading a book.

Based on the latest research

Prof. Miia Kivipelto at Karolinska Institutet is behind the FINGER study, which is the basis for the content of the Memory Reception's advice and information on lifestyle factors to keep the brain healthy.

Miia Kivipelto, MD, PhD

Professor of Clinical Geriatric Epidemiology at Karolinska Institutet

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