7 Steps to Help Prevent Memory Loss

Although there are no guarantees when it comes to preventing memory loss and dementia, researchers are discovering more about how the brain works and what we can do to have the best shot at its prevention. Here are some steps to take that have been proven effective:

Eat Healthy Fats - The body needs healthy fats to build and rebuild cell walls. The cell walls in the brain are particularly high in fat, primarily omega-3 oils. These fats are found in wild fatty fish (like halibut, sardines, and salmon), coconut oil, extra-virgin olive oil, avocados, whole eggs, nuts, and seeds.  Signs that your body is low in these fats are:
    • dry, itchy, flaky skin
    • Soft or brittle nails
    • Hard earwax
    • Small bumps on the backs of your arms
    • Achy, stiff joints
    • Inflammation leads to disease. When the body has to build cell walls without these “omega fats” available, it will resort to using lower-quality oils from any available resources in the body. When the cell walls are made from lower-quality oils, they are more porous and susceptible to inflammation, and Inflammation is the preemptor to disease. When tissues are inflamed, the body reacts in an attempt to reduce the inflammation. Like a blister forming on the heel where a shoe rubs, the body creates a “protective” defense. Continual rubbing then builds callous and becomes a bunion or other deformity. So, inflammation over time leads to dysfunction.

      Dementia is marked by the appearance of amyloid deposits in the brain. Amyloid deposits are abnormal fibrous, extracellular, proteinaceous deposits found in organs and tissues”, similar to a callous, and like a callous, they form from inflammation over time. They block the transmission of signals in the brain, affecting memory, cognition, and making complex thought processes impossible. Reducing inflammation in the brain can prevent these amyloid deposits.

Reduce Refined Sugar Consumption - Elevated blood sugar is a major source of inflammation in the body. Whether you are diabetic or not, the consumption of refined carbs, sugar, alcohol, caffeine, and processed, foods creates inflammation. Substituting with healthy fats like avocados, walnuts, almonds and cashews, grass-fed meats, pastured chicken and eggs, olive and coconut oil, and reducing carbs and sugar in the diet, can reverse the inflammation cycle. Diabetes has been shown to increase the risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease by 4-fold.
Exercise daily. A 30-minute walk can make a big difference in how your body functions. Whether you prefer swimming, tennis, or weight training, 30 minutes of aerobic movement can improve mood, increase circulatory system function, reduce joint stiffness, and a study done at the Mayo Clinic showed that aerobic activity can slow down and even prevent the progression of dementia.
Learn to control stress levels. Stress takes a toll on your body and your brain. The Alzheimer’s Society states that although the exact mechanism is complex, there is a definite link between stress and the development and progression of dementia. Take a meditation class, do deep breathing exercises, or practice yoga. Do whatever works for you to reduce worry, anxiety, and stress in your life.
Get 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night. Studies have shown that poor sleep is a risk factor for cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Although mechanisms underlying the associations are not yet clear, healthy sleep appears to play an important role in maintaining brain health and may play a key role in Alzheimer's disease prevention. If you are having difficulty developing a healthy sleep schedule, consult your primary care physician. There may be an organic problem, and if not, they may have suggestions for getting a better night’s sleep.
Be Socially Engaged. Studies have show that people who have a strong social network are less likely to develop dementia, as well as other health issues. In fact, recent studies have shown increases in brain size and density and substantially reduced risk of dementia with any social interaction, including written, phone, and Internet.
Take Part in Games and Puzzles. Giving your brain a workout increases its connections and strength. People who do crossword puzzles, word games, According to a study, when early-stage and middle-stage patients with dementia used puzzles and games that required reasoning, memory, or strategy, they were able to improve a wide variety of cognitive abilities, including short-term memory, reaction time, problem-solving, logical reasoning, and communication.

Studies on dementia and memory dysfunction, its causes, preventions, and cures are a major target of current research and new information is being constantly discovered. Although there are drugs available that show promise in assisting someone who has been diagnosed with dementia, the preventative measures are all based on decisions that we can make for ourselves on a daily basis. Changing your daily choices can deflect memory diseases and possibly even stop and reverse their negative effects.

If you or a loved one could use some assistance in creating and initiating a wellness plan, a professional caregiver can help. They can not only support your choices, but they can help with meal preparation, as well as any other steps you choose to take toward dementia management or prevention. You can find a professional caregiver through our website, whether you need someone full-time, or for just a few hours a week. Right at Home will work with you to select the perfect, qualified, professional caregiver to make sure that your loved one’s needs are met. Each caregiver is screened and bonded to ensure professionalism. Our unique five-step process will provide just the right fit for your family. Contact us today at 631.352.0022 and ask for a FREE in-home consultation.

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