- Tips for a better memory
As we prepare for Healthy Aging Month in September, we are reminded of how forgetful we can be. We all forget a name or misplace the car keys from time to time. But as we grow older, the “senior moments” seem to grow distressingly more common. The good news is that such occasional lapses I memory are normal. Even better, recent research has found that we may be able to fight forgetfulness by engaging in activities that stimulate the growth of new connections and keep our brains young.
- Use it or lose it. A major study found that, as a group, seniors who engaged in mentally stimulating hobbies like reading books or playing board games lowered their risk of developing Alzheimer’s. The more frequent the stimulation, the greater the benefits.
- Dancing also specifically helped seniors lower their risk of Alzheimer’s, the study found. Heart-healthy aerobic activities, whether laps in the pool or a trot around the block, improve oxygen-rich blood flow throughout the body, including the brain.
- Eat smart. A balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, rich in antioxidants like vitamins C, D, and E, may protect brain cells from damage, studies suggest. Although there’s no compelling evidence that particular nutrients can boost memory or make you smarter, foods rich in omega-3 fats, such as wild salmon, sardines, walnuts, and flaxseed, may be particularly good for promoting the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain. Interestingly, two studies have shown that taking vitamin supplements does not reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s; only intake through nutrient-rich food was found to be beneficial. Vitamin E is found in wheat germ, plant oils, margarine, cabbage, sunflower seeds & nuts.
- Enjoy individual pleasures, like listening to music or reading a good book, to help keep the brain focused and alert.
- Challenge your brain. For strong biceps, you exercise. Do the same thing in the mental sphere. See how many landmarks you’ve correctly recalled during your morning commute.
- Vary your routine. Even better, take a different route to work. Travel in general provides tremendous stimulation for the brain.
- Maintain emotional fitness. Constant worry can trigger hormones that damage brain cells and leave you feeling tired and distracted. Frequent interactions with family, friends or even a cherished pet are key to defusing stress and achieving a sense of well-being, experts say.
Michael Baron, D.O.
Chairman, Board of Directors, Physicians’ Care Clinic