Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi

Think Healthy

While age-related memory loss is not uncommon, you can take steps today to protect your brain and the memories you cherish.

  • Eat a brain-healthy diet
  • Keep your mind active with brain-stimulating activities (crossword puzzles, word searches, trivia games, etc.)
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Practice relaxation techniques
  • Protect your brain from injury
  • Regular exercise

For more information on Alzheimer’s Disease, protecting your brain health and the 10 warning signs of Alzheimer’s, visit the Alzheimer’s Association website.

A healthy diet and regular exercise are among the best ways to promote good health and a healthy body, but did you know these lifestyle habits can also help keep your brain healthy? November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and there are healthy lifestyle habits you can practice now to protect your memory in the future.

You can truly eat “smart” when it comes to eating for good brain health. Here are some foods you can include in your diet for brain power:

Nuts and seeds – These contain heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, helping keep arteries clear. Healthy blood vessels are conducive to good blood flow and circulation, which is important for good brain function. Vitamin E is also associated with less cognitive decline as you age. A one-ounce serving a day is enough to reap the benefits without adding too much dietary fat.

Fish – Omega-3 fatty acids promote healthy brain function, contain anti-inflammatory substances and help keep your arteries clear. Three servings per week is enough to take advantage of the health benefits.

Healthy oils and avocados - The monounsaturated fat in olive oil, nut oils, fish oil, flaxseed and avocados promotes healthy blood flow and can lower blood pressure. Higher blood pressure can contribute to the decline in cognitive function. Be sure to watch your portions since these are high in fat. You should aim to get 25 percent of your daily calories from healthy fats like these.

Dark chocolate – It’s the dark stuff containing antioxidants and other natural stimulants that can enhance memory, concentration and focus. It also stimulates the body’s production of endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones which improve your mood and sense of well-being. A one-half to one ounce serving is all you need since this healthy treat is still high in fat and calories.

According to the Mayo Clinic, regular exercise is the most effective lifestyle habit to help prevent Alzheimer’s and age-related memory loss. A study at the University of Illinios published in the journal, Frontiers in Aging and Neuroscience, found that seniors who walked regularly showed improvement in brain function, memory, attention and other cognitive processes.

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