Did you know? South Asians are more susceptible to having dementia. So what should we do to avoid it? Can we avoid it at all? This article will answer all your questions.
According to CDC, “Dementia is not a specific disease but is rather a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions that interferes with doing everyday activities.” Scroll down to learn about non-modifiable & modifiable risk factors of the disease, ways to reduce the risk, and foods to have and avoid to prevent the risk of having it.
Non-Modifiable Risk Factors
Dementia is NOT a normal part of aging, but age is the strongest known risk factor. The older you become, the higher the risk. After the age of 65, the risk of developing dementia doubles approximately every five years. Dementia can also affect people under 65. Some people in their 40s or 50s develop dementia, which is known as young onset dementia.
Women are at a higher risk of developing dementia as compared to men. While the reasons for this are still unclear, some of the potential contributors include women living longer (on average) than men. Estrogen prevents dementia and women’s estrogen levels change over their lifetime.
South Asians are at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes which are all risk factors for dementia therefore it means that South Asians are at higher risk of getting dementia compared to other ethnicities
Modifiable Risk Factors
• High blood pressure
• High Cholesterol
• Obesity & Lack of exercise
• Poor Diet
How Can We Reduce The Risk Of Dementia?
Preventing conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol may help prevent dementia.
Being mindful about your diet may help prevent the risk of getting dementia. These foods include:
Whole Grain: Include whole grain in your diet such as brown bread, brown chukki ata , brown pasta, brown rice .
Fruit and Vegetables: Try including at least 2-3 portions of fruit in a day. Aim to include a variety of vegetables. Adding different colours of fruit and vegetables will mean you are getting different antioxidants.
Protein: Include lean meats such as chicken and fish. Try to include more and more plant-based proteins such as lentils, pulses, and beans.
Dairy: Include dairy such as milk, cheese, and yogurt in your diet.
Fats: Fats are essential for our body to function, but we are consuming far more than we should be. Limit intake of fats and opt for vegetable oil, rapeseed oil, olive oil. Include nuts and seeds in your diet to get your healthy fats. Try and include fish twice a week to get your omega 3 fatty acids.
Limit or Avoid:
High sugary foods /drinks
Foods high in salt (processed items)
Foods high in saturated fat such as butter, ghee, and fats on your meat.
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The information in this article was provided by Fareeha Jay. She is a Registered Dietician based in Plymouth. She is working as a Diabetes specialist, delivering educational sessions to people newly diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. She also runs her private practice. Her work entails online consultations with South Asians all over the world. If you wish to view her work, below are the links to her social media handles;