Tips for Memory: There is a lot that science can’t yet explain, including why some people can still recall the name of their first-grade teacher at age 100, while others develop the erly signs of cognitive decline in their 50s. But emerging research indicates that with a few relatively simple lifestyle choices, you can better maintain your brain health.
Already watching your weight and sticking to a heart-healthy diet that is low in bad fats and cholesterol? If so, you are already partway there! Current research indicates that a diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol, rich in good fats like polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and packed with protective foods with nutrients such as vitamin E and lutein may protect brain cells and promote brain health. Tips for Memory.
Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish such as salmon or ocean trout.
Maximize your intake of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid that is a building block of the brain and is important to brain development and health throughout life. DHA is so important to brain development that it is a key component of breast milk. A diet rich in DHA may even protect against certain neurological disorders.
Aim for at least 200 mg of DHA per day to maintain brain health. You can find DHA in fatty fish, fortified foods such as juice, milk, eggs, tortillas, yogurt and supplements. Tips for Memory. Look for foods and beverages that have the life’sDHA™ logo to ensure you’re getting a pure, algal source of DHA.
Eat a diet rich in vitamin E. Vitamin E helps support brain health and can be found in milk, butter, eggs, vegetable oils, nuts, whole grains, wheat germ and dark leafy greens like spinach. Vitamin E is also available in a supplement.
Add lutein to your diet. Lutein is an important natural antioxidant that helps maintain healthy eyes and supports brain health as we age. Dark leafy green vegetables (kale, spinach, collards and turnip greens), egg yolks, peas and corn are super foods when it comes to providing lutein. Lutein is also available in a supplement.
Aim for nine servings (each about the size of a fist) a day of fresh, washed fruits and vegetables with the skin on to maximize the nutritional punch. Make sure you’re eating the colorful ones like red grapes, cranberries, blueberries and tomatoes. These contain powerful polyphenols that help decrease the inflammation that is the enemy of brain health.
Enjoy a variety of foods in many different colours.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables tend to be packed with anti-oxidants. Blackberries, blueberries, purple cabbage and plums are all great food choices.
Go green every day with fruits and vegetables that are good for your brain and also benefit bones, teeth and vision. Green options include avocados, broccoli, celery, cucumbers, peas, spinach, pears, honeydew melon and many more.
Choose white, tan and brown fruits and vegetables such as bananas, cauliflower, potatoes, turnips, onions and garlic.
Add orange and yellow fruits and vegetables such as grapefruit, cantaloupe, butternut squash, peaches, papaya, oranges, sweet potatoes, yellow peppers and lemons to your plate.
Reach for reds every day. Beets, raspberries, red grapes, radishes, tomatoes, red peppers, watermelon, rhubarb, pomegranates and cherries are just a few excellent red choices. Tips for Memory.
Eat high fibre breads, cereals and grains and low-fat animal proteins. Include foods rich in omega-3 oils such as cold-water fish (e.g. trout, salmon) and walnuts.
Add flavour to dishes by adding herbs, spices, nuts and olives. You don’t have to give up flavour to follow a healthy diet.
Maintain a healthy weight by choosing appropriate portion sizes, eating healthy snacks, and drinking plenty of water.
Plan meals in advance so that you don’t leave healthy eating to chance.
When it comes to food and brain health, set reasonable goals and be patient. By following basic healthy eating guidelines, your brain fitness has the potential to improve.
In addition to improving your general health, physical activity is beneficial for your brain health. Even moderate physical activity promotes the circulation of blood to the brain, which nourishes the cells with nutrients and oxygen, and may even encourage the development of new cells.
People who exercise regularly are also less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Make time for at least 30 minutes of exercise every day of the week. Exercising is a stress reliever and can even help you feel younger.
Think of it as “activity” not “exercise.” For those who feel they have little opportunity to exercise, start by adding a bit of physical activity into your daily routine. Choose a brisk walk to the store rather than driving the car, or take the stairs instead of the escalator or elevator for one or two floors.
Choose activities and sports that you enjoy.
Aerobic activities can help maintain general fitness. For example, many experts recommend walking as one of the safest and most effective forms of aerobic exercise.
Start where you can and set reasonable goals.
Plan physical activity with another person so that you are more likely to keep active while you also gain the brain-healthy benefits of social interaction.
Check with your doctor about the kinds of physical activity that might be right for you or if you have specific health concerns.
Don’t use tobacco.
Maintain a healthy weight and help minimize your risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.
Get approximately seven to eight hours of sleep each day.
You’ve heard the saying “use it or lose it” and it’s especially true when it comes to your brain. Research indicates the brain is capable of learning and retaining new facts and skills throughout life, especially with frequent intellectual stimulation. Intellectual curiosity, pursuit of education, even games, reading and learning new activities are all fun and easy ways to exercise your mind.
Find a brain-stimulating activity you like – reading, crosswords, learning a new language – and engage in it regularly.
Try carving out a little time to meditate when you feel stress is starting to get the better of you, or even when you don’t. Meditation may help to reduce inflammation and stress by soothing the vagus, the part of the brain that controls inflammation and immune response in the body.
Commit to learning a new word or fact every day and commit to mastering a new skill or subject area every year of your life.
Engage Yourself in the Complex and Novel
Learning new information and skills across your entire lifespan helps to keep your brain strong even in the later years of life. Activities that have the highest value for brain health are those that are novel and complex to each particular person. What is easy for one person may be challenging for another, so the things that challenge you the most have the most value for your brain.
It is the novel and complex that will challenge the brain, stimulate learning, and promote synaptic density, decreasing the likelihood that neurodegenerative disease will manifest. With practice of an activity or skill, your synaptic density increases, and what was once novel and complex can easily become rote and passive. Therefore, continually learning new things will ensure your brain is always expanding and staying sharp.
Stay Socially Engaged
Friends and family are key factors to happiness – and they just might be the key to brain health as well. Research shows regular social activity promotes creation of new brain cells and supports brain repair. In one study, men and women who had the most social interaction within their community had less than half the rate of memory loss as those with the least social engagement. So help your brain by getting involved in activities like visiting with friends and relatives, club activities, socializing at the workplace, etc.
Staying connected socially helps you stay connected mentally. Research shows that regularly interacting with others may help lessen your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Tips for Memory.
Maintain old friendships and make new ones. Stay social through work, volunteer activities, travel, hobbies, family and friends. Be open to new experiences.
Staying active and involved with life also helps to reduce stress, boost mood and keep relationships strong.
Tips for Memory:
- Accept invitations and extend a few of your own.
- Make the most of your daily opportunities to socialize – chat with your taxi driver or store clerk; make conversation in the elevator.
- Help someone – practice a random act of kindness.
- Talk on the telephone or correspond via e-mail.
- Participate in service clubs, volunteer work, or join a hobby group.
- Combine social interaction with physical activity (such as a walk or a fitness class) or a brain-challenging activity (such as a book club discussion or attending a play) – and enjoy yourself while you positively impact your brain health.
- Laugh – smile at someone.
Friends provide opportunities to enable the sharing of experiences, new learning, challenges, emotions, trust, and understanding. Tips for Memory. Friendship also provides the necessary motivation towards activity and involvement. Engaging in new pursuits with friends often helps develop new life roles, which provide us with an opportunity to feel appreciated, enjoy life, laugh, and have fun. Parent-teacher organizations, church, sports teams, and other groups and organizations are great places to develop relationships with other people.
Stress, when it persists over time, causes vascular changes and chemical imbalances that are damaging to the brain and other cells in your body. Experiencing some stress is part of everyday life, so how you manage it is important to your long-term health. By reducing the harmful effects of stress on your body, you improve your brain health and you may reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
You can reduce the harmful effects of stress on your mind and body through meditation, deep breathing, massage or physical exercise. Tips for Memory. The key is to explore a variety of techniques and find those that work for you.
Symptoms of chronic stress may include the following:
Emotional: depression, tension, anxiety, anger, worry, fear
Physical: headache, fatigue, insomnia, sweating
Mental: poor concentration, memory loss, indecisiveness, confusion
Behavioural: fidgeting, overeating, alcohol and drug abuse
If symptoms of stress persist, contact your doctor.
Take personal time for yourself. Exercise, relaxation, entertainment, hobbies and socializing are essential parts of our health and well-being. Everyone needs to find a balance that limits stress and helps maintain optimal health.
Identify unrealistic expectations and try to accept what cannot be changed.
Seek and accept support.
Be prepared – new or unfamiliar situations can create stress and anxiety.
Get plenty of sleep.
A new field of study referred to as neurotheology has been advancing the study of the neurophysiological correlation between prayer and subjective experience. Tips for Memory. Multiple studies have shown a relationship between spirituality and the immune system. As we continually learn more about the potential of positive thoughts influencing health, people are beginning to integrate these practices more frequently into their daily lives, and experiencing life-changing results.
It is important for us to take control of our health and understand that we are in charge of managing of our bodies. Physicians work for us, and when it comes to our bodies we are the boss. Once we establish our own role in the management of our health. The importance of a close and trusting relationship with our physician becomes apparent.
Open communication can help the physician make sound decisions regarding our health. A team approach can help establish a united front against illness, and more importantly, promote our health. To keep yourself at your healthiest, maintain regular physical examinations, and follow your physician’s advice. Tips for Memory.