Research from the Alzheimerâ€™s Associationâ€™s first ever conference, in 2005, shows that itâ€™s never too late to begin putting your mind into top shape for the future. The more you do to be brain healthy the better your chances at preventing disease that could cost your memory â€“ like Alzheimerâ€™s.Â
Here are a few suggestions to keep your brain fit:
1. Exercise your body. A healthy body produces a healthy mind. Diseases such as diabetes and heart disease can cause your brain to not get enough oxygen or the proper amount of insulin to work at its best.
2. Eat brain foods. In their study, 1.836 elderly men and women, the ones who drank fruit or vegetable juice at least three times a week had a 75% lower risk of developing Alzheimerâ€™s than those who juiced up less than once a week. Another study found that eating plenty of fruits and vegetables might protect against cognitive decline.
3. Remain socially active.Â In a study of 2,513 men, those with the least contact with friends and family in late life were nearly 3x more likely to develop dementia than those with the most social activity. Falling out of touch with friends and family increased risk even more.
4.Â Get mental stimulation. Through numerous studies, research with both mice and humans, doctors have found they by stimulating the mind through brain games and video games new brain cells develop that can build up a reserve against the loss of cells in the future.Â Any type of mental stimulation, which includes: reading; learning a new language; puzzles; math problems; etc. will help build new cells. It also works well with activities that require manual dexterity, such as drawing, painting or crafts.
5.Â Drink alcohol in moderation. Any kind of abuse â€“ whether drugs or alcohol, will damage your brain. But, you donâ€™t have to cut out alcohol altogether. In a study of 471 adult children of Alzheimerâ€™s patients, moderate drinkers and those who exercised regularly scored better on memory, problem solving and other mental tasks than those who didnâ€™t drink or exercise.
6. Make sure to get enough sleep. Sleep deprivation is a great memory buster. Not getting 6-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep will cause â€œbrain fogâ€ and lead to other health problems as well.
This changes in your regular routine will help your brain to work at optimum performance, it will help keep your brain young and help to fight off dementia and other mental problems that occur later in life â€“ and itâ€™s never too late to start.
This is Ron White,Â memory keynote speaker.
Readers Digest â€“ Keep Your Brain Young, September 2005, page 59
Harvard Medical School, Family Health Guide â€“ 12 ways to keep your brain young: