Marry an intelligent woman to have a better life, says mental health expert
Not only does being married improve health, this expert claims choosing an intelligent wife also helps fight off dementia. Read on to learn more.
In recent years, there has been study upon study to strengthen the claim that a happy marriage leads to a healthier life. Some have even explored how a nagging wife can lead to better health for husbands. Now, research is shedding light on a different aspect of a healthy marriage. According to mental health expert Lawrence Whalley, a man should marry a clever woman to improve their quality of life.
If you marry a clever woman, you will always be intellectually stimulated
Lawrence J. Whalley, author of Understanding Brain Aging and Dementia, talks more about his theory in a recent talk.
If you marry a clever woman, he says, you will constantly be intellectually stimulated. Not only will this ward off dementia in old age, it can improve the quality of your life. Because if you marry a clever woman, you will be endlessly fascinated and challenged.
This comes on the heels of an earlier study that claims being married is a way to fight the decline of brain function. Having a spouse also encourages healthier lifestyle behaviours.
However, study co-author and psychiatrist Andrew Sommerlad, clarifies that being married alone is not the key factor.
"Instead, our research suggests that the possible protective effect is linked to various lifestyle factors which are known to accompany marriage, such as living a generally healthier lifestyle and having more social stimulation as a result of living with a spouse or partner," the psychiatrist explains to CNN.
The rise of dementia cases in Asia
About 47 million people around the world suffer from dementia.
Dementia, contrary to what many may believe, is different from Alzheimer's. It is a non-specific disease, which is a set of symptoms that involve the degeneration of memory and mental skills. Alzheimer's disease accounts for a majority of dementia cases.
In Asia, dementia is described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a fast growing epidemic. This places a huge burden on spouses and caregivers.
Theories like Whalley's are always a welcome reassurance. We have the power to fight this incurable condition that can rob us — and our loved ones — of a truly fulfilling life.
Tips on how to prevent dementia
Are you at risk of developing dementia? Well, it all depends on a combination of certain risk factors — age, genetics, medical conditions, and lifestyle choices.
The strongest risk factor for dementia is ageing, says the Alzheimer's Society. One in 20 people with dementia were diagnosed past the age of 65. However, there is such a thing as young-onset dementia.
In Singapore, more and more people below 65 are being diagnosed with dementia. In 2016 alone, the National Neuroscience Institute (NNI) Neuroscience Clinic (Tan Tock Seng Hospital Campus) reported seeing 179 patients below 65 years old. The number of cases has increased five times since 2011, reports TODAY online.
Since Singapore has a rapidly ageing population, experts anticipate the number of dementia cases to double by the year 2030.
So it's good to know that there are experts who believe that if you marry a clever woman, then it can help "slow down the ageing process."
Who is most at risk for dementia?
- Women are more likely to develop the condition than men for still unknown reasons.
- Dementia can be inherited, but further research is needed to fully grasp how this happens.
- Cardiovascular conditions like type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and obesity increase the risk of dementia.
- Know that even if you are single or have been widowed, you can also help curb dementia risk through proper education and social engagement.
So how can you lessen your chances today to help prevent dementia in the future?
1. Eat well
It's no secret that a healthy, balanced diet boasts loads of health benefits. And brain function is no exception. In fact, aside from known brain-boosting foods, following a diet plan can help battle the risk of Alzheimer's.
The MIND diet — Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenartive delay — has been known to reduce the risk by about 53%.
This diet involves: whole grains (at least three servings daily); leafy greens (six servings daily); berries (two servings weekly); fish (one serving a week); poultry (two servings weekly); legumes (three servings weekly); nuts (five servings weekly), and one serving of alcohol daily (red wine, preferably).
2. Exercise regularly
Not only does exercising help you slim down, it can help boost brain metabolism, says a 2017 study. Upon examining participants through MRI, they found that regular exercise improved brain structure as well as cognitive performance.
Why not ride bikes or run as a couple at least 30 minutes each day? Not only will this help you stay fit, it can be a good bonding experience before you start your day.
3. Get enough sleep
At the end of a busy day, our bodies and brains need time to recuperate and recharge. Getting a good night's sleep can improve attention span and overall mood. It can even improve your skin's quality.
Experts also link improved brain function to getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
4. Engage yourself mentally and socially
Play board games, solve crossword puzzles, or visit museums as a couple. You can also play cognitive processing games and apps.
Most importantly, connect with a group of friends who challenge you, who inspire you to pursue new passions. Not only will this help you enjoy life, it will help keep you sharp!
Good friends provide emotional support, as well, which in turn can help boost overall health.
Maintain an active social circle that emotionally supports and intellectually stimulates you just as much as your clever spouse!