Healthbeat 4: Improving and sustaining brain health

“Everyone who has a brain is at risk to develop Alzheimer’s.” - The Alzheimer’s Association
Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 9:30 PM CDT
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SIOUX CITY (KTIV) - June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month. The Alzheimer’s Association says June is used to bring awareness to the disease 47 million people live with worldwide.

While having a family member with Alzheimer’s does increase your risk, Dr. David Ensz with MercyOne says there are ways to protect your brain.

First, treat your brain to healthy foods.

“Eating healthy, there are certain foods that promote brain health, a lot of processed foods will go against brain health,” said Dr. Ensz. “There are other habits such as smoking, chronic alcohol use, that can actually lead to earlier forms of dementia too.”

Dr. Ensz said foods like avocados and walnuts -- anything rich in antioxidants, and Omega 3 can improve brain health. Just like our body needs physical challenges, our brain needs mental challenges to keep it strong.

“Little different games are ways of doing that. Learning new things,” said Ensz. “So as we get older, instead of doing the same thing every day and getting your change routine, try to do something new, where you know, a new hobby, a new craft where your brain has to think a little differently.”

Other ways to reduce your risk of cognitive decline according to the Alzheimer’s Association: get plenty of sleep, stay socially engaged, and protect your head from brain injury.

Dr. Ensz says it is rare for younger adults to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. However, those adults can still practice good brain health.

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