Seven Steps for Better Memory

by Lynn Jaffee

When was the last time you walked into a room and forgot what you went there for? Have you recently been in a conversation with a really good friend and just couldn’t come up with their name? Embarrassing? Yes. Alzheimer’s? Probably not.

Memory loss can be the result of a number of factors including aging, hormonal changes, diet, and trying to do too many things at once. The good news is that there are a number of steps you can take to improve your memory and slow it’s decline as you age. The following tips can help boost your memory and make you feel better in general:

1) If you’re not physically active, get moving. 2006 data from a study that began in the 1930’s shows that moderate exercise (as little as two times a week!) can lower your chances of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s by 60%.

2) Quit smoking now. This may sound like a “no brainer” (no pun intended), but when you quit smoking, your risk for Lung cancer over time decreases to almost that of a non-smoker. Unfortunately, this is not the case for degenerative brain conditions due to smoking, which are not completely reversible, so the sooner you quit, the better.

3) Eat Mediterranean. The evidence is clear that the Mediterranean Diet is one of the best diets to significantly slow cognitive decline. Eating Mediterranean means more fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fish and less full fat dairy and animal products.(For more on the Mediterranean Diet check out our June 2006 newsletter—it’s on line at )

4) Drink green tea. Results from a 2006 study reports that as little as a cup or two a day of green tea, which is packed full of anitoxidents, can cut your risk of cognitive problems by 50 percent.

5) Make a list. Memory lapses can be the by-product of simply trying to do too many things at once. At a certain point, your brain just can’t hold any more details. Make a list of the things you want to do or remember to get rid of some of that brain “clutter”.

6) Play some mind games. Crossword puzzles, soduku, trivia quizzes, or even learning a new skill or language can keep your brain exercised and can slow memory loss.

7) Get social. Spend time with family and friends, volunteer for a favorite cause, or join a book or garden club. Social connections are a great way to keep your mind active and engaged.

The good news here is that small changes can be enough to yield big results as long as you keep them up. A few cups of green tea, exercise a couple of days a week and moderate changes in diet can be sufficient to lower your risk of age related memory problems.

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