August 29, 2016

Countdown to World Alzheimer’s Day: 21 Ways in 21 Days to Better Brain Health

worldalzSeptember 21, 2016 is World Alzheimer’s Day. On this day, people, policymakers and organizations around the globe will raise awareness and pay tribute to loved ones lost or suffering from this devastating disease. Take action against Alzheimer’s in your own world by trying these twenty-one tips for better brain health from the six pillars of brain health.

Day 1: Add blueberries to your morning cereal

Blueberries are food and nutrition superstars, packed with antioxidants that can potentially slow aging in the brain.

Day 2: Take a walk

Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week at moderate intensity. It can improve your heart health as well as foster good brain health. Moderate intensity means you can talk but not sing while moving.

Day 3: Play a card game

Games can stimulate the brain. Socializing with others is good for your brain too.

Day 4: Meet a friend for coffee

As mentioned, an active social life can help protect you against memory loss and add to better brain health. Some evidence suggests 2-3 cups of coffee a day may improve your memory.

Day 5: Pump some iron

Strength exercises like lifting light weights can boost brain power, improve mood, enhance concentration and increase decision-making skills. Try bicep curls, squats or planks.

Day 6: Meditate

Research shows that regular meditation helps decrease stress, anxiety, and depression. It may help fend off age-related decline in brain health. Aim for 5 to 10 minutes of meditation 2 to 3 times a day.

Day 7: Check your blood pressure

High blood pressure can cause structural damage in the brain, which can develop into mental decline. What’s good for your heart is good for your brain.

Day 8: Try Tai Chi

Working on your balance 2-3 times a week is good for your brain and will help reduce the risks of falls. Your brain likes new challenges too.

Day 9: Cook Fish on Friday

Fish is a great source of omega-3s, the type of fatty acid your body can’t produce, and your brain needs. Salmon,cod, haddock, tuna or halibut are best.

Day 10: Call a friend or family member

Keeping in touch helps you stay connected to your sources of support, reduces stress, combats depression, and can help protect you against memory loss.

Day 11: Play an electronic brain game

Playing electronic brain games can help improve reaction times and problem-solving ability. It may also boost your attention span and help maintain your brain health.

Day 12: Order a Kale salad

Leafy green vegetables are rich in many brain-loving nutrients. Eat some everyday.

Day 13: Stop Smoking

Heavy smokers have more than double the risk of non-smokers in developing Alzheimer’s disease. Cut down with goal of quitting. Seek medical treatment or a support group.

Day 14: Stand up and stretch

Flexibility can gradually decline with age. Better flexibility means more energy, improved posture and reduced risk of injury.

Day 15: Hello! Hola! Salut! Shalom!

Trying something new like studying a new language. Novel activities can improve your brain reserve.

Day 16: Spice it up

Add herbs and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon and ginger to your food or drinks. Herbs and spices are packed with antioxidants that may decrease harmful inflammation in the brain and body.

Day 17: Practice saying “no”

Help reduce and manage stress by saying no to the things you don’t want to do. It’s important to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Day 18: Ditch your electronics

The glow from digital devices in your bedroom can interrupt your body’s natural urge to sleep. Avoid looking at your devices at least an hour before bed. Sleep is vital to better brain health.

Day 19: Pet a pup

Pets helps us with several pillars of brain health by calming us down, boosting our immunity, enhancing our social life and keeping us moving.

Day 20: Take Action and Volunteer

In honor of World Alzheimer’s Day, join an Alzheimer’s Walk in your area or volunteer for a community project like Dementia Friendly America. Volunteering is a great way to make new friends and add purpose to your life while enhancing your brain. Below is an exciting event happening in our Las Vegas neighborhood at our Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.  What’s going on in yours?

Event:  World Alzheimer’s Day Kick Off Event (Wednesday, September 21, 2016)

Day 21: Re-check your Brain Health Index Score

Log-in to HealthyBrains.org and see how these twenty-one days of brain health has improved your score!