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Approximately 55 million people are living with dementia across the globe, reports the World Health Organization (WHO). And as the proportion of older adults continues to increase worldwide, experts anticipate global dementia rates will rise to 78 million in 2030, and 139 million by 2050.

Adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help protect your cognitive health—but one thing may be increasing your dementia risk, in spite of your efforts. Read on to find out what 58 percent of Americans are doing that spikes their chance of developing dementia, and how you can avoid it.

You’ve likely heard that the foods you choose to put on your plate can affect your heart health and your risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. But diet also plays a critical factor in our brain health and cognitive function.

Eating plenty of whole foods high in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants can nourish your brain and protect it from oxidative stress, which is a major driver of chronic inflammation. Inflammation can damage cells and lead to the two main types of dementia—Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, registered dietitian and author of 2-Day Diabetes Diet, tells Best Life, “Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fiber, plant-based fats, and antioxidants may help to promote brain health. Adding more fruits and vegetables to the diet along with nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, and fatty fish can offer protective benefits to the brain and organs such as the heart.”


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