Seven health hacks to futureproof your brain

When it comes to dementia, midlife is a key period of potential intervention according to a new paper, The Middle Aging Brain. Researchers at University College Cork highlight how this ‘previously understudied period of life’ is crucial in predicting the future of our cognitive health.

Experts say up to 40 per cent of dementia cases could be prevented by making just seven midlife lifestyle changes (and yes, seeing a dental hygienist helps!)

Keep your weight in check

Obesity in midlife can lead to high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure, all of which can damage arteries and increase brain inflammation. Maintaining a healthy weight through a balanced diet is key. The Mediterranean and MIND diets, rich in fish, legumes, nuts, vegetables, fruits, and leafy greens like Romaine lettuce, can help reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, which are linked to cognitive decline.

Move that body

Regular physical activity is crucial for brain health. You don’t need to overdo it — just staying active is beneficial. Studies have shown that midlife cardiovascular fitness can reduce the risk of dementia later in life. Aim for the NHS-recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week, whether it’s through jogging, power-walking, or any other aerobic activity.

Get seven hours’ kip

Quality sleep is vital for cognitive function. Research indicates that seven hours of sleep per night is optimal for middle-aged and older adults. Adequate sleep can improve processing speed, visual attention, memory, and mental health, reducing the risk of depression and cognitive decline.

Try to drink less (and stop smoking)

Excessive alcohol and smoking can harm your brain and overall health. Reducing alcohol intake and quitting smoking in midlife can significantly lower the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, liver disease, and dementia. Taking action now reduces the long-term burden on your brain.

Join a group, call a friend…

Engaging in social activities can keep your brain active and healthy. Conversations stimulate neural networks and improve memory and social skills. Joining a running or cycling club, or taking up hobbies that foster social connections, can be highly beneficial.

Train Your Brain

Keep your brain sharp by engaging in activities that challenge your cognitive skills. Learning new skills, solving sudoku puzzles or crosswords, and continuous learning can increase the volume of the hippocampus, a brain area critical for memory and one of the first affected by Alzheimer’s.

Prioritise dental wellness: don’t forget to floss!

Oral health is often overlooked but is crucial for preventing dementia. Bacteria from gum disease can travel through the bloodstream to the brain, causing inflammation associated with dementia. Maintaining good oral hygiene by brushing twice a day and flossing can ward off gum issues and support your overall health.


At Well:o we understand the importance of preventive care for long-term health. A professional teeth clean by a dental hygienist, every 3-6 months, is the cornerstone of good oral health.