I love getting tips and information from experts about ways to improve my health, including preventative measures I can take. A recent article by a neuroscience researcher addresses memory and dementia, and specifically, the seven hard rules that he lives by to help fight off dementia and boost his memory. In the article, he points out that brain disorders are on the rise, and that our brains shrink by approximately 5% per decade after age 40. The good news is that significant mental decline does not have to be a inevitable part of the aging process. Read on for his tips on boosting memory and fighting off dementia!
Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Levels: Every time your heart beats, it sends approximately 20% of the body's oxygen to the brain. High blood pressure can weaken the heart muscle which can impact it's ability to work effectively. In addition, cholesterol is crucial to brain and nervous system health.
Maintain Healthy Sugar Levels: High and low blood sugar can have negative impacts on your brain health. Blood sugar is the brain's primary fuel. Not enough fuel means low or no energy, and too much fuel can cause the destruction of blood vessels and tissue which can cause premature aging and cardiovascular disease.
Maintain Quality Sleep: For most adults, that means getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night. Tips for getting quality sleep include having a consistent bedtime and wake up schedule, turn off electronic devices one hour before bed, engage in a relaxing behavior before bed such as breathing exercises, and go outside to get natural sunlight as soon as possible after waking up in the morning.
Maintain a Nutritious Diet: Great choices include fatty fish such as salmon, avocados, blueberries, nuts, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts. In addition, aiming to eat produce with a variety of colors, perishable items, and choosing packed items only if they don't have sugar or sodium as one of the first few ingredients, have ingredients you know and can pronounce, and have a small number of ingredients.
Don't Smoke - and Avoid Exposure to Second and Thirdhand Smoke: Smoking increases one's risk of developing dementia by 30%! Secondhand smoke causes exposure to over 7,000 chemicals, with at least 70 known to cause cancer. Thirdhand smoke is cigarette smoke residue, which alone can emit chemicals that are toxic to our brains.
Be Social: Maintaining regular social connections has been shown to lower the risk of memory loss and can boost brain chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins.
Be a Lifelong Learner: Learning new skills and information creates new connections in your brain! The more of these connections you make, the greater chance you have at retaining or even improving your memory. Learning new physical activities are important, too!