10 Simple tricks to prevent memory loss

The sheer thought of memory loss as you grow older can be terrifying. Here's an effective easy-to-follow guide to prevent Alzheimer's disease and age-related memory decline

Alzheimer's, the most common form of dementia, and such agerelated memory disorders strike fear in all of us. In her international best-selling book 100 Simple Things You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's, American medical journalist Jean Carper, 79, gets a host of experts to reveal scientifically-backed tips about how to head off the disease. Follow these tips to hugely slash your chances of developing the disease.

Check your ankle

Low blood flow in your foot is a clue to trouble in your brain. But a simple test can reveal its cognitive state and your likelihood of stroke and dementia. The theory is that blood vessel health is similar throughout the body. The degree of clogged arteries in the feet can suggest atherosclerosis in cerebral blood vessels. Ask your doctor for an ankle-brachial index (ABI) test.

Eat Anti-oxidant-rich foods

Antioxidant-rich foods can slow memory decline. All fruits and veggies are good but black raspberries, raisins and blueberries top the list.

Beware of bad fats

The type of fat you eat changes your brain's functioning for better or worse. Stay away from saturated fats which drive brain cells into inefficiency. Buy low fat or fat-free dairy products like milk, cheese and ice-cream. Bid adieu to deep fried foods.

Grow a bigger brain

Your brain starts to shrink when you reach 30 or 40. However, you can increase your brain size through learning. Try studying and learning new things or broadening your circle of friends for better cerebral stimulation. Besides, as you age, blood levels of vitamin B12 drop and the chance of Alzheimer's rise. Low B12 levels shrink the brain and eventually cause brain atrophy. It's best to regularly take a B12 supplement once you turn 40.

Mediterranean magic

Time and again, it's been proven that what the Greeks and Italians eat is truly brain food. The Mediterranean diet can help save your brain from memory deterioration and dementia. So include green leafy vegetables, fish, fruits, nuts, legumes, olive oil and a little vino. Also, use a lot of vinegar, as this wonder food arrests memory decline.

Weighty matters

Obese and overweight people have less brain tissue, thus upping the risk of Alzheimer's. It's better if you tackle the early signs of weight gain, when you are young or middle-aged that is. Also, watch out for unexplained weight loss after 60 as it may be a sign of Alzheimer's.

Choco therapy

Cocoa, the main ingredient in chocolate, has sky-high concentrations of antioxidants called flavanols, which possess strong heart and brain-protecting properties. Drinking cocoa powder increases blood flow to the brain and it has twice as many flavanols as dark chocolate.

Coffee, tea and wine

Coffee helps block the ill-effects of cholesterol in the brain and cuts the risks of stroke and diabetes, all promoters of dementia. Tea, black and green tea preferably, stalls the cognitive loss that precedes Alzheimer's. Wine raises good cholesterol which helps ward off dementia.

Spot early signs

Memory problems are not the first clue. You may notice a decline in depth perception or you may misjudge the distance while walking across the street. Doing a jigsaw puzzle or reading a map may seem confusing or you may lose your sense of smell. The earlier you catch the signs, the better you can adapt your lifestyle to tackle it.

Sleep like an angel

Sleep deficiency is toxic to brain cells and it has surprising powers to protect your brain against memory loss and Alzheimer's. A healthy sleep pattern, of at least seven hours a day, helps manipulate levels of the dreaded brain toxin peptide beta-amyloid, a prime instigator of Alzheimer's.

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