A healthy balanced diet of whole foods rich in vitamins, nutrients, and DHA omega-3 fatty acids may protect the brain. To learn more about specific nutritional strategies and brain health, click here. Many tools can help you track the food you eat and get the right nutrition for you. Here's a LifeHacker article with information on the top 5 rated food and nutrition tracking tools of 2013.
Some chronic diseases can raise the risk of dementia and some medications can impair your brain's function. Periodically review your medications and supplements with your physician. Work with them to manage your health. Your smart phone and computer can help manage your medications. Visit MedActionPlan.com for help scheduling your meds, Drugs.com to check drug interactions, and this article for the top ten iPhone apps for medication management.
Depression may impair cognitive health, causing memory loss and attention deficits. It can be treatable with medications and psychotherapy. Both the Anxiety and Depression Association of America and the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance offer resources to help you manage your depression or anxiety.
Prolonged stress can harm your brain and causes fatigue, disturbed sleep, poor concentration and memory lapses. Protect yourself by changing your lifestyle and learning ways to cope. More on stress management can be found in this WebMD article, CDC website, and agewatch.net. Also, check out this TED Talk on "How to Make Stress Your Friend". For some people, adopting a pet can lower stress. Learn more about pet adoption with PetFinder, the ASPCA, or at your local animal shelter.
Stimulate your brain throughout life by engaging socially and intellectually. Education at any age may protect against cognitive decline. Brain games from Lumosity or the AARP can keep you cognitively-engaged. And if you love learning, try taking a class at one of the many Osher LifeLong Learning Institutes, the Khan Academy, or your local community college. Volunteering is a fun way to stay socially-engaged and stimulated - visit Experience Corps, Volunteer Match, Serve.gov, or Volunteer.gov to learn more. See agewatch.net for more discussion
Scientists are working hard to develop effective treatments for cognitive aging and dementia. You can help! Support drug discovery through the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation. Advocate for research through USAgainstAlzheimers and other groups. Participate in clinical research -- patients with dementia can connect with trials at TrialMatch and at CureFinder. Even if you don’t have Alzheimer’s disease, you can help advance research by participating in the Alzheimer’s Prevention Registry or the Brain Health Registry.
Sleep well and regularly - impaired sleep may lead to Alzheimer's disease. Here’s a TED Talk by Russell Foster on why we all need sleep. Tips may include maintain a regular sleep schedule, establish a bedtime routine, use the bedroom only for sleep and sex, avoid food and exercise within 2-3 hours of bedtime, and avoid sleeping pills. The National Sleep Foundation is a great resource to help you understand and improve your sleep. Also, here's a Gizmodo article that reviews sleep tracking devices to help you improve your sleep.
Exercise may protect against brain aging and improve mental function. Avoid long periods of physical inactivity and engage in moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for at least 30 minutes duration, 3-5 days per week. To get fit, track it! Here’s a LiveScience article and a New York Times blog post on different ways and devices to help you exercise and get your fitness on track.
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