Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s Prescription for Preventing Dementia


Famous neurosurgeon, CNN commentator, and author of Keep Sharp Dr. Sanjay Gupta shared his recommendations for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and boosting brain health in a recent CBS Sunday Morning interview with CBS News chief medical correspondent Dr. Jon LaPook.

There are things we can do that involve lifestyle changes that could absolutely delay the progression of dementia and even reverse it. —@drsanjaygupta Click To Tweet

Many of these lifestyle changes align with the Power 9 lifestyle characteristics of the longest-lived places in the world, places where age-related diseases like dementia are almost non-existent.

1. Move Naturally, Move More

Dr. Gupta said, “When you move, it’s almost like you’re signaling to the body and to the brain, ‘I wanna be here. I’m not ready to go!’ What the brain specifically releases [are] these things called neurotrophins; these good chemicals are sort of nourishing the brain.”

2. Dive into Berries

A plant-slant diet is related to many health benefits, but for dementia prevention, Dr. Gupta said, “I think when it comes to the brain, it’s berries. Berries, in terms of what they can do for the brain and some of these certain chemicals that they release, are probably gonna be one of your best foods.”

3. Get Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Learn a new skill, eat dinner with your non-dominant hand, do something each day that scares you.

4. Get More Sleep

More than a third of American adults are not getting enough sleep on a regular basis and report sleeping less than seven hours daily, according to a study in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“The brain is a remarkably complicated organ. When you go to sleep at night, it’s taking the experiences you had throughout the day and consolidating them into memory. Why do we even have experiences if we’re not going to do the things necessary to remember them, right? We’re learning that the brain is constantly sort of going through this ‘rinse cycle’ at night,” said Dr. Gupta.

5. Find Good Friends

In all five blue zones, social connectedness is ingrained into the culture. While Okinawans have moais, Sardinians meet with friends each evening for happy hours and Adventists host weekly meals with their congregations.

“We know that that social interaction is so critically important,” Dr. Gupta said. “We are social creatures. We know that there are certain neurochemicals that are released when we actually have touch and look someone directly in the eye.”

Take a brisk walk with a close friend and talk about your problems. — @drsanjaygupta Click To Tweet


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