The Alzheimer's Association and other sources say taking these steps may help keep your brain healthier and lower your risks for illnesses that harm memory and thinking.
1. Adopt a Brain-Healthy Diet
A diet that supports brain health is rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish and legumes, with only moderate alcohol intake. Dark-skinned fruits and vegetables offer high levels of brain-healthy antioxidants. Cold-water fish such as salmon and trout offer beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. Look for foods that are low in fat and cholesterol, which can clog arteries.
2. Be Physically Active
Regular exercise and physical activity help maintain the brain's blood supply and promote growth of new brain cells. Staying fit also reduces the risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes - independent risk factors for dementia. Aerobic exercise such as walking, bicycling, gardening, yoga and tai chi, done for 30 minutes a day, seems to help protect the brain.
3. Be Socially Active
Staying social appears to protect people from dementia. What kind of social activities can engage you mentally and physically? Examples include volunteering, playing cards, traveling, and working on behalf of a cause.
4. Be Mentally Active
Keeping your brain active every day may help you build a reserve of brain cells and connections among them. To do so, be a lifelong learner. Stay curious. Read and write. Take adult education courses. Attend lectures and plays. Try your hand at crossword puzzles and other brain-stretching games.
5. Be Heart Smart
Maintaining a healthy heart seems to keep the brain healthy, too. Don't smoke, maintain healthy blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, and maintain a healthy weight.
Have You Heard of Our Dementia Support Group?
If you have a family member with dementia, please join us at our Dementia Support Group for support and learning. This support group is offered several times a month at different locations. Visit www.petersonrmc.com and click 'Calendar' for dates and more information.