Since dementia can be caused by several different factors, this is a difficult question to answer. There is no “cure-all” prevention method for memory loss, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to fight against it.
Here are four steps you can take today to help prevent dementia and memory loss:
1. Make healthy choices. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can go a long way to ward off disease. Focus on eating lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods. It would also be a good idea to choose low-fat dairy products and lean meat like fish and poultry.
Additionally, try to get moving for 30 minutes a day, even if it’s just walking around the block. Exercise gets your blood moving, which keeps your heart, brain, and body healthy. Active choices include riding a bike, playing pickleball, and swimming.
2. Stimulate your brain. The Mayo Clinic recommends mental activity to help delay dementia and decrease its effects. This includes logic games, matching games, and word games. Many games are available online for free or can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet. See a list of our favorite brain games to get started.
Puzzles and reading are also great activities to keep your brain engaged. Share puzzles with friends or find used ones at garage sales. Using your local library is a great way to keep reading without a lot of cost.
3. Stop smoking and limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol and smoking both affect your blood, and anything with your blood can affect your health. Stick within the recommended limits for drinking and cut smoking out altogether to improve your blood health and, thus, your brain health (NHS).
“According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, moderate drinking is up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men” (National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).
4. Invite a friend to join you to “pack an extra punch” against memory loss—enjoy a meal, take a walk, or play cards. The social interaction and mental stimulation seem to strengthen the connection between nerve cells in the brain (Alzheimer’s Association).
Plus, if you need help to stop smoking, research shows that quitting as a group or with a partner is more effective than trying on your own (National Institute on Aging).
While these steps can help stop or slow down dementia, they are also good for your health anyway! Pick one and take a step toward a healthier lifestyle today.