Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease cases are on the rise as the world’s population gets older. These brain disorders are associated with significant memory loss and can impair one’s ability to care for themselves. As time goes by, a person’s memory begins to fade away, forgetting loved ones’ names and even important life events.
Although Alzheimer’s and dementia are common among the elderly, they are not inevitable parts of aging. While there isn’t yet a cure for these brain diseases, you can take steps to prevent these conditions or at least to slow down their progression.
Below you will find nine steps you can take in order to improve brain health and hold on to your precious memories for many more years to come.
9 steps to improve memory
Reduce your intake of dairy and red meat: Red meat and dairy products contain saturated fat which contributes to cholesterol. High cholesterol promotes the production of beta-amyloid plaques in the brain – a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Try to keep your red meat and dairy intake to a minimum. A good way to start is by embarking on “meatless Monday” which is a trend that encourages people to start off their week without consuming meat. (The “miracle” berry that can revitalize your cells.)
Avoid refined grains: Opting for whole grains or gluten-free grains can go much further in maintaining your memory than eating processed or refined grains. Refined grains contain too much sugar which causes your glucose levels to rise and drop rapidly. This roller coaster of sugar levels has a negative impact on your brain health, so opting for whole grains helps to maintain consistent sugar levels.
Eat three regular meals with snacks: Once again, maintaining steady sugar levels is much healthier for your brain than having them spike and drop. To further help regulate glucose in the body, it’s important that you eat three regular meals a day along with healthy snacks in-between. Skipping meals or eating sugar-laden meals can cause your sugar levels to become erratic which, as mentioned, can take a negative toll on your brain health. (Uncover the “Fountain of Health” berry.)
Eliminate foods that contain trans fats and hydrogenated fats: Diets high in trans fats and hydrogenated fats – found in biscuits, processed foods, and baked goods – make brain cell membranes excessively permeable which increases the risk of viruses accessing the brain. This can lead to dysfunction and cognitive decline over time.
Eat more fruits and vegetables: Fruits and vegetables should make up 80 percent of your diet in order to maintain good brain health. The greater the variety of the vegetables and fruits you consume the healthier you will be overall. This is because different fruits and vegetables offer different nutrients that, when combined, work to improve your health. You should aim to consume at least two servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Swap out unhealthy oils with healthy ones: Cooking with olive oil or coconut oil can go a long way in preserving brain health. Although coconut oil and olive oil do contain saturated fats, studies have shown that these types of saturated fats are healthier for your brain than those fats found in animal products.
Avoid artificial sweeteners: When trying to sweeten your dishes, opt for food sweeteners, like dates and applesauce or stevia, rather than artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners have been linked to the development of brain cancer and some of them have been listed as possible carcinogens.
Choose unrefined salt: Unrefined salt can be healthier for your brain than iodized salt as it is more naturally occurring. It contains more nutrients including potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Iodized salt does not contain trace minerals, so you really aren’t receiving any benefit from it.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes each day: Any amount of exercise, whether it be brisk walking or more vigorous activities, has been shown to enhance brain function. This is because regular exercise helps support cardiovascular health, meaning it further helps carry oxygenated blood to the brain. (Are you missing this important molecule for a healthy heart?)
By incorporating these brain-boosting tips into your daily life, you can enjoy many more years of sharp memory and improved brain health.