There may not be a cure to dementia, but there are ways you can reduce your risk.
NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar filled TODAY in about two simple ways you can keep your brain sharp while you age: exercise and diet.
The best thing you can do for your health is to get up and get moving! According to research, active seniors have a 50 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia.
Don't fret if you hate exercising — all you need is 30 minutes of activity a day. You don't need to torture yourself on a treadmill — you can take a walk in the park or even go for a jog with your dog. Find an activity that you actually like to do and it will help make exercising much more enjoyable!
In addition, a new study found that people who swim, run or do other types of moderate exercise have healthy brains that look (on average) 10 years younger than those who don't exercise as often.
The second thing you can do to lower your risk of dementia is to stick to a Mediterranean-style diet, which can reduce the risk of memory problems.
The key to Mediterranean diet is to swap out ingredients, instead of just adding them to your meals.
Some of the basics of the Mediterranean diet are:
- Replace butter with olive oil and other unsaturated fats
- Increase plant-based foods, such as fruits and veggies, whole grains and legumes and nuts.
- Cut back on red meat consumption
- Eat more eggs, poultry and fish
- Include low-fat dairy products daily
- Put down the salt shaker and use herbs and spices like garlic, oregano and basil instead
- If you drink, you can have a 5-ounce serving or red or white wine daily