Wellness Wednesday: Ways to Protect Against Memory Loss

Apr 17, 2024

Ways to Protect Against Memory Loss

To help preserve mental function, we should focus on protecting the brain and mind from degeneration.  Each suggestion below works in a different way, but all are beneficial.  Try the following to help slow or lessen the risks of age-related memory loss and dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease):

  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet.  This can help to lessen the risk of inflammation, oxidative stress, and related health issues which may be linked to Alzheimer’s disease.  This is a diet rich in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids.  Vegetables and fruits are the best sources of antioxidants, although tea and dark chocolate contribute as well.  Oily cold-water fish, freshly ground flaxseed, and walnuts all provide omega-3s.
  2. Participate in regular physical activity.  You can help slow memory loss with regular exercise.  Physical exercise seems to correlate with better mental function, perhaps because of improved circulation.
  3. Get proper rest and sleep.  The body needs rest, both to balance physical activity and to recharge the mind.  Being passive, taking in your surroundings without reacting, and simply “not doing” are valuable and necessary for optimum health and healthy aging.
  4. Neutralize your stress.  Studies show that maintaining a positive attitude and positive emotional state may help ward off cognitive decline.
  5. Learn to relax.  Practicing regular relaxation techniques like meditation or yoga (chair yoga is fine) can help.
  6. Stay involved.  Social ties, involvement in faith-based groups and community, and meaningful relationships all seem to be protective.
  7. Keep your mind active.  Research shows that the adage “use it or lose it” applies to your mental power as much as to the rest of your body.  Crossword puzzles, word games, reading, and educational classes can all help you keep your brain agile and strong.  Combining physical and mental exercise can also be helpful:  for example, singing songs while walking or trying to recall plot lines of movies and plays while gardening.  A little challenge every day will serve you well overall.

Adapted from Academy of Dr. Andrew Weil, March 2024, and prepared by Rachel A. Mischler, RD, CDN.  If you wish to speak to Rachel with any questions or nutritional concerns, please contact her at 607-744-0245.

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