How To Prevent Memory Loss
By the Editors of Prevention
Build a better brain!
It’s common to experience a little brain fog as we age, but much like muscles, the more exercise you give your brain, the stronger it will be. And you don't need any crazy products or regimens to stay sharp: These simple lifestyle tips can keep your brain young for years.
Give Your Mind A Workout
Practice brain games, crossword puzzles and memory exercises that stress verbal skills.
Bite Into Brain Foods
Enrich your diet with plenty of omega-3 fats, antioxidants and low-glycemic-index carbohydrates (e.g., whole grains). And consider eating several smaller meals throughout the day. Eating five small meals prevents dips in blood glucose levels, and glucose is the primary energy source for the brain.
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Keep Your Body Fit
Take brisk walks each day and do stretching exercises. Increased cardio can make your brain actually grow, with more white matter and more neuron connections.
Manage Your Stress Levels
Stretching and relaxation exercises help keep anxiety in check. Stress causes the body to release cortisol, and cortisol has been found to shrink the memory centers in the brain, which results in impaired memory. Meditation has also been proven to substantially improve memory.
Check Your Iron
Iron helps the neurotransmitters essential to memory function properly -- and your body may be sensitive to low amounts. In one study, women low in iron missed twice as many memory questions as women with adequate levels.
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Listening to the news while you read a magazine will impair your ability to recall either later. When you attend to multiple tasks, the brain switches processing to another region that retains fewer details. Focus on one task at a time to keep a perfect recollection of each one.
Control Your Cholesterol
The plaque buildup caused by high cholesterol doesn’t only damage the veins of your heart: Blockage of the blood vessels in your brain can deprive it of valuable nutrients, and cue memory problems. And it doesn’t take much plaque to block the tiny vessels, so check your cholesterol levels regularly.
Check Your Meds
Many prescription drugs can affect your memory, and the older you are, the longer drugs stay in your system. Drugs that can cause memory lapses include antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, beta-blockers, chemotherapy, Parkinson’s drugs, sleeping pills, painkillers, antihistamines and statins.
Eat An Apple A Day...
To keep the neurologist away. Apples have enough antioxidants to raise acetylcholine, which is an essential neurotransmitter for memory. The same antioxidants can also protect your brain from harmful free radicals.
Sip Red Wine
Red wine contains the compound resveratrol, which may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease. Its ability to lower cholesterol levels also helps prevent that plaque buildup in your entire body, including your brain.
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