Register for our free class “MIND-ful Eating for Brain Health,” at which we will focus on the principles of the MIND Diet and how to modify your current food pattern to maximize potential benefits for brain health. The class takes place on April 27 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the University of Vermont Medical Center. Click here to register. 

Are you worried about becoming forgetful?

Research now indicates that maintaining a healthy lifestyle does have a positive effect on memory (in humans as well as mice!). There are four practical tips that we discuss with patients and families both in terms of preventing memory loss and slowing down a declining memory.

Nutrition, exercise, social engagement and intellectual activity are all important components of lifestyle choices that may impact brain health. Here are some reminders to keep your brain healthy as your get older:

  1. Nutrition: Managing appropriate body weight and eating fresh foods that include things like green leafy vegetables, berries, whole grains, fish, nuts and beans are some foods thought to help support the right balance of nutrients for the brain to function well. This is now called the MIND Diet and here is a helpful link: http://www.cbsnews.com/media/mind-diet-foods-avoid-alzheimers-boost-brain-health/
  2. Exercise: Physical exercise is vital for encouraging blood flow to the brain to support growth of new brain cells. Short daily walks, bicycling, and group activities like yoga and tai chi are a few examples of ways to get your body moving and increasing physical fitness. Walking is the very best!
  3. Intellectual Activity: Your brain needs mental stimulation! Television, generally does not count. Reading, keeping up with current events, working puzzles, writing letters, and organizing photographs, are but a few examples of lifestyle changes to implement. Some computerized memory games and programs are helpful too.
  4. Social Engagement: Involvement with community, family, friends, and cultural activities are also important ways for stimulating brain activity, keeping one involved, and developing a sense of belonging and purpose. People who stay socially involved are thought to do better with the progression of brain disease.

For more in depth information please call the Memory Program, Fanny Allen Campus, The University of Vermont Medical Center at 802-847-1111.

Lori McKenna, LICSW, is a social worker with the Memory Program at The University of Vermont Medical Center. 

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