Today and every day about 190 British people die from dementia – about 1,350 a week – and the number is increasing and threatening.
It is by far our biggest killer who overtook heart disease five years ago as the number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes continues to decrease. Over the next few years, more than a million British people will live with degenerative brain disease.
This statistic is all the more shocking considering that the death toll from dementia is almost four times the number currently claimed by the Covid 19 pandemic in the UK every week.
But despite these grim numbers, there is hope as the latest medical evidence suggests that it is not just fate to decide whether you suffer from dementia.
Dementia, a degenerative brain disease, is by far our biggest killer. It overtook heart disease five years ago as the number of deaths from heart attacks and strokes continues to decrease
Although incurable, an astonishing 40 percent of cases could be prevented primarily, according to a global report released last week at the Alzheimer's Association's International Congress.
Lifestyle factors such as diet, lack of exercise – and even hearing loss – are responsible for a whopping 340,000 of the 850,000 cases of dementia in the UK, the report said. The leading scientists behind the new study identified 12 risk factors that increase the likelihood that we will develop the disease. It is in our power to address each and every one of them if we want to stay healthy into old age.
Risks start to increase in childhood, the report says, but even small lifestyle changes in the 70s could have a significant impact.
The report marks a major step forward in understanding the disease. Three years ago, the same research group was the first to demonstrate how much dementia can be avoided, demonstrating the role of obesity, smoking, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure. Untreated hearing loss, depression, and lack of exercise also contribute to individual risk, while lack of education and social isolation were also factors identified by the experts.
Based on new data, three other avoidable dangers have been added to this list: traumatic head injury, air pollution, and heavy alcohol consumption.
The authors of The Lancet & # 39; s Commission on Dementia, a group of international experts, say the results should be a wake-up call for all of us and urged everyone to take responsibility for their own health. They said: "Around 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by eliminating these risk factors." So what can we do? Well, changes in diet and lifestyle have a significant impact, not only on reducing the likelihood of developing dementia, but also on keeping the mind sharper and younger.
Around 40 percent of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by eliminating risk factors such as smoking cessation (expert photo).
A recent Swedish study found that healthy weight, blood pressure control, and fitness and activity are three key factors that significantly improve mental performance. Over 500 participants ages 60 to 77 were advised to eat lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and low-fat dairy products, while training plans included strength training in a gym, as well as group exercises to improve aerobic fitness such as jogging and aerobics.
The researchers followed them for two years and found that they ended up performing better on mental tests after improving their overall health. In another study involving 3,000 volunteers, similar lifestyle changes were associated with a 37 percent lower risk of dementia. In fact, it was found that only one change in one area, such as giving up smoking, had a big impact.
I take this seriously because I saw firsthand how devastating dementia can be. I was 17 when my beloved grandma Olive died of the disease at the age of 74 after having been cared for by my mother, her only child, in our family home for two years.
Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer's, which accounted for 10 to 15 percent of cases. In retrospect, all of the risk factors described by the Lancet Commission were present. My grandfather Jimmy, who has been married to Olive for 40 years, collapsed and died of aortic aneurism at the age of 65 just two weeks after he quit his draftsman job at the Rolls-Royce plant in East Kilbride, south of Glasgow. Your world was falling apart. Over time, the neighbors moved on. Friends died.
Adored: As a baby, Jo Macfarlane sat on Grandma Olive's knee before her dementia started. Olive suffered from Lewy body dementia, the second most common type after Alzheimer's
A fall meant she was afraid to go out and spent a lot of time alone in her empty house staring out the window. She started forgetting to eat.
When she came to Fife, 80 miles away on the opposite coast of Scotland, the warm, adoring woman who had fallen in love with my two younger sisters and me disappeared bit by bit.
Every morning the house was awakened by her fearful complaints. "Help me! Help ”when she opened her eyes and again had no idea where she was.
Living near a busy road increases the likelihood of dementia by 10%
The most painful thing she forgot was that she had a daughter or grandchildren. When it was gently explained to her one day, she sobbed bitterly: "Nobody ever told me I had a daughter."
It is a story that will undoubtedly appeal to thousands of British families who are so burdened with care.
The cost of treating and supporting the dementia population in the UK is £ 34.7 billion per year and will almost triple by 2040. Unpaid caregivers like my mother save the economy another £ 13.9 billion a year.
Imagine that the emotional and economic burden could be reduced considerably. A one percent reduction in dementia would mean that 8,500 fewer people live with the disease.
Eliminating all 12 risk factors, the authors of the report, could prevent 340,000 people from being affected – 40 percent of the 850,000 people who suffer from dementia in the UK.
In this special section "Mail on Sunday Health" we explain how you can reduce your risk – from finding ways to combat heart disease and diabetes to surprising prevention methods such as improving your hearing.
There is still a lot about the risk of dementia that science cannot explain, but there is reason to be optimistic. Equipped with new knowledge, it has never been possible to change the course of our later life for the better.
Crustless Quiche with Feta, peas and spinach
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until firm and golden brown. Serve warm or cold (267 calories per serving)
- 1 bag of fresh spinach or 200 g frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed out with the excess water
- 50 g cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 180 ° C / fan 160 ° C / GM. 4. Fry the onion over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until tender. Whisk the eggs in a bowl, stir in half the cheese and half the onions and season well.
Pour the egg mixture into a non-stick bowl and spread it over the rest of the onion as well as the peas, the spinach and the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until firm and golden brown.
Serve warm or cold, sliced.
Peach and apricot breakfast Pots
Layer apricots and peaches in 2 small glasses, followed by yoghurt (305cal per serving)
Lightly toast the oats in a pan over low heat, stirring frequently, until they turn golden (about 5 minutes).
Layer the apricots and peaches in 2 small glasses, followed by a layer of yogurt, followed by another layer of fruit until you reach the top of the glass.
Sprinkle with roasted oats and nuts.
Banana and peanut Butter overnight oats
In the morning, loosen with a little water or milk if necessary (380 calories per serving)
Stir the skim milk and cinnamon into your oats the night before.
Loosen with a little water or milk in the morning if necessary. Top with chopped banana, yogurt and a dash of peanut butter.
Bubble-shaped tomatoes on toast
Increase the heat and let the tomatoes sizzle until the skins bubble (213cal per serving).
- Pinch dried herb blends
- 1 large slice of whole grain or rye bread
Gently fry the garlic in 1 teaspoon of oil for 1 minute, then add the cherry tomatoes and mixed herbs. Increase the heat and let the tomatoes sizzle until the skins bubble.
Toast the bread and drizzle the bread with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
Put the tomatoes on top and season with salt and pepper.
Baked eggs with vegetables and yogurt
Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix (343 calories per serving)
- 1/2 pack with 100 g fresh spinach or 80 g frozen spinach with water squeezed out
- 2 spring onions, chopped
- 2 tbsp low-fat natural yogurt
- 2 slices of rye or whole grain bread, toasted
Heat the oven to 200 ° C / fan 180 ° C / GM 6. If you use fresh spinach, put it in a colander and pour it over a kettle of boiling water to wither the leaves.
Squeeze out excess water. Heat the oil in a large, ovenproof pan before frying the spring onions for a few minutes until they are tender.
Add the spinach and season with salt and pepper, then mix. Make two small wells in the pan and crack two eggs. Place the pan in the oven for 12-15 minutes, then serve with yogurt on the spoon next to the toast.
Fried sweet potato filled with smoky black beans
Cut the boiled sweet potato in half and spoon in the bean mixture (343cal per serving)
- 1 tin black or kidney beans
- Pinch of chili powder (optional)
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / fan 180 ° C / GM. 6. Prick the sweet potatoes with a fork and fry for 45-60 minutes.
Heat the oil in a saucepan and add garlic, bell pepper, cumin and chilli if necessary. Cook for 1 minute. Add the drained beans, 50 ml of water and a pinch of salt and pepper and stir thoroughly.
Cook until everything is warmed up. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice shortly before serving.
Cut the cooked sweet potato in half and spoon the bean mixture into it.
M.Eatballs and beans in tomato sauce
Put 4 meatballs with sauce in each bowl and serve alone or with bread (450cal per serving)
For the meatballs:
- 1 slice of stale or toasted wholemeal bread
For the sauce:
- 1 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1 can of butter beans or another variety
Beat the bread in a blender to prepare breadcrumbs. Place in a bowl and mix thoroughly with beef, garlic, egg and spices.
Roll into small balls – approx. 16 – and place on a plate in the fridge. Gently fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the onion, pepper and zucchini and fry for another 5 minutes until lightly browned.
Next, add the tomatoes, beans, and puree. Fill the empty can twice with water, add it to the mixture and let it simmer for 15 minutes.
Fry the meatballs in another pan for 12 minutes. Try the sauce and see if it is seasoned.
Put 4 meatballs with the sauce in each bowl and serve alone or with bread.
Butter white Beans and tuna
Add a last dash of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any (329cal per serving)
- 1 tin tuna in spring water
- Pinch dried herb blends
- Chopped fresh herbs (optional)
Chop the garlic finely and fry in olive oil for 2-3 minutes. Add the drained beans, salt and pepper, and the mixed herbs. Cook until it's warmed through. Chop the onion finely, drain the tuna and carefully add to the warmed mixture.
Serve with a slice of toasted bread. Add a final dash of oil and some chopped fresh herbs if you have any.
Sardine, tomato and pepper pizzettes
Drizzle with sardine oil and place on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-25 minutes (391cal per serving).
For the dough:
- Half a bag of quick-acting dry yeast (4 g)
For the topping:
- 8 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- 1 green or yellow pepper, chopped
- 4 black olives, finely chopped
- Pinch dried herb blends
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / fan 180 ° C / GM. 6. Prepare the dough by adding water to the yeast and stirring until dissolved. Then gradually pour the damp mixture into flour and salt until the dough consistency is reached.
Mix everything into a ball, then knead for 10 minutes before doubling the dough for 30 minutes. Break off 4 palm-sized balls and leave the rest of the dough in the fridge or freezer for later use.
Roll the 4 pieces of dough into mini pizzas and stings. Drain the sardines, but keep 1 tablespoon of oil.
Spread the tomato puree thinly on the bases, then add the sardines, cherry tomatoes, peppers, chopped olives and herbs. Drizzle with sardine oil and place on the middle shelf of the oven for 15-25 minutes.
Chicken and toasted vegetable salad
Season with salt and fry 20-25 m until the chicken is cooked (531cal per serving).
- 1 small red pepper, chopped
- Large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 100g lettuce leaves or lettuce (any kind you like)
For the dressing:
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Heat the oven to 210 ° C / fan 190 ° C / GM 8. Mix the chicken, broccoli, cauliflower, pepper, cherry tomatoes and olive oil in a bowl until covered.
Place the chicken and vegetables in a baking sheet large enough to rest everything in one layer. Season with salt and fry for 20-25 minutes until the chicken is cooked.
When cooked, cut your thighs. Whisk the dressing ingredients in a salad bowl, then add the chicken, vegetables, and lettuce leaves. Mix well before serving.
Zucchini and mint Potato parmesan cake
Place in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until the egg has settled (502 calories per serving)
- 1/2 roll (160 g) of rolled puff pastry
- 4 new potatoes, cooked and sliced
- 1 zucchini, cut lengthways or cut into round slices
- 2 tsp fresh mint, chopped
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / fan 180 ° C / GM. 6. Place the pastries on a lined, greased baking sheet and fold the edges up and inwards to form a thin crust. Place the potatoes and zucchini on the pastries and carefully pour the egg over them.
Sprinkle with lemon peel and parmesan. Place in the center of the oven for 25 minutes or until the egg is firm and the crust is golden brown. Sprinkle with chopped mint.
Crisp Cod and sweet potato Chips with smashed Mint peas
Dip the cod fillets in the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake 25 m (520cal per serving)
- 2 skinless cod fillets
- 1 slice of stale or toasted bread
- Sprig of fresh mint, chopped
Preheat the oven to 220 ° C / fan 200 ° C / GM. 6. Cut the sweet potato into bite-size pieces, place in a baking dish, drizzle with oil and sprinkle on the bell pepper. Fry for 45 minutes.
Cut the bread into crumbs and mix with a pinch of salt, pepper and lemon zest. Dip the cod fillets in the egg and roll in the breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 minutes.
Cook the frozen peas until they are slightly overcooked, then gently crush them with mint and butter. Squeeze the lemon juice onto the fish.
Stuffed peppers with a "meaty" mushroom filling
Cover with the pepper lids, cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes (345 calories per serving)
- 200 g mushrooms (any kind), diced
- 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
Heat the oven to 220 ° C / fan 200 ° C / GM. 7. Make breadcrumbs by lightly chopping or finely chopping the bread in a blender. Heat the oil in a pan and fry the mushrooms for 5 minutes until soft.
Turn off the heat and add garlic, tomatoes, breadcrumbs, walnuts, and pesto until everything is well mixed. Cut the top off the peppers and remove the seeds. Put in a roasting tin and put the mushroom filling in the pepper caves.
Cover with the pepper lids, cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.
Simple paella for one person
Stir the seafood mixture into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer 5 m (565 calories per serving)
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 sausage, divided into small balls (or a handful of chicken breast pieces)
- 1/2 tsp dried herbs mixed
- 75 grams of brown rice or paella rice if you can't get brown
- 1 tbsp white wine (optional)
Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the sausage balls, onions and garlic for 8 minutes. Then add the peppers, herbs and rice, stirring constantly.
Inject the wine and after vaporizing stir in the chopped tomatoes and chicken broth. Season and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is almost cooked.
Stir the seafood mixture into the pan and cover with a lid. Simmer for 5 minutes or until the seafood is cooked. Squeeze the lemon juice.
chick-pea and zucchini Parmigiana
Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and parmesan and bake 35-40 m (422cal per serving)
- 6 zucchini, cut into 1 cm slices
- 2 balls of mozzarella, sliced
- 50 g parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / 180 ° C / GM. 6. Brush the zucchini slices with oil and sauté the slices in a pan for 3-4 minutes on each side, then set aside.
Cook the onions and garlic in the same pan until soft. Heat the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas in a saucepan, add the cooked onion mixture, salt and pepper and let it bubble for a few minutes.
Place part of the tomato mixture in the bottom of a baking dish and brush with zucchini and mozzarella. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.
Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs and parmesan and bake for 35-40 minutes until they are bubbly and golden brown.
Spice compote with Honey yogurt and nuts
Heat rhubarb in a small pan with a tablespoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add cinnamon and allspice and let simmer until the rhubarb has dissolved (222 calories per serving)
- 1/2 can of rhubarb in light syrup or apples or pears
- 4 heaping tablespoons of low-fat Greek yogurt
Heat rhubarb in a small pan with a tablespoon of syrup and a splash of water. Add the cinnamon and allspice and let simmer until the rhubarb has dissolved.
Let cool and serve with 2 tablespoons of yoghurt, a pinch of nuts and a dash of honey.
Chocolate mousse with raspberries
Fold in the protein – whisk into stiff tips – followed by chocolate. Place the mixture in 2 small glasses or espresso cups and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (296 calories per serving).
- 1/3 of a 100g bar of dark chocolate
- 3 tbsp low-fat Greek yogurt
Melt chocolate in a glass bowl over a pan with boiling water. Add sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Add half of the yogurt to the bowl and mix, then put in another bowl before stirring in the rest of the yogurt.
Fold in the protein – whisk into stiff tips – followed by chocolate. Put the mixture in 2 small glasses or espresso cups and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Serve with a handful of raspberries.
Tinned Pear and Crumble the nut
Mix first with a spoon, then with your fingers until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the peaches and bake for 35 minutes (264 calories per serving)
- 3 x 410 g canned pears in juice
- 1 tbsp sugar or sweetener
- 50 g hazelnuts or nuts you like
Preheat the oven to 200 ° C / fan 180 ° C / GM. 6. Drain the pears, but keep the juice. Place the pears and juice in a baking dish or 6 ceramic pots. Mix the flour, oats, butter, sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a bowl.
Mix first with a spoon, then with your fingers until you have a rough, crumbly mixture. Sprinkle over the peaches and bake for 35 minutes until golden yellow and crispy.
Self-made Stracciatella gelato
After the last stirring, melt the chocolate slowly in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan with boiling water. Pour in the chocolate while stirring the ice (174 calories per serving).
Makes 10 parts
- 2-3 tbsp granulated sugar
Put a bowl in the freezer the evening before making the ice cream. The next day, pour milk and sugar into a medium-sized saucepan and heat it gently, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has just dissolved.
Take off the heat, stir in the cream and let the mixture cool before adding it to the bowl, which has been refrigerated in the freezer. Leave in the fridge for 3 hours before transferring to the freezer. Stir the ice 3-4 times, approximately every 4 hours, to break up ice crystals – or use a blender.
After the last stirring, melt the chocolate either slowly in the microwave or in a glass bowl over a pan with boiling water. While stirring the ice, pour the chocolate in and place in the freezer for 30 minutes before serving.
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