No matter what your age, it is never too late or too early to take preventive steps to preserve and protect your memory. As a general rule, good health habits reduce the risk of illness and the need for drugs both of which may impair memory function.
Research shows that the following things may help preserve your memory:
Everyone has heard the phrase, "A healthy mind is a healthy body." Quite simply, physical and mental fitness go hand in hand. Those who are still mentally sharp in their 70s and 80s tend to get regular, vigorous exercise. And although it is not known just how much exercise is needed for good mental health, experts recommend that some form of physical activity be part of your daily routine.
It has been proven that good mental function in later years corresponds to your level of education. However, regardless of your education, you should always strive to be an active learner by challenging yourself, reading regularly and keeping up with current affairs. Learn a new hobby or language; play challenging games that exercise your mind.
Although it is not known whether smoking itself impairs memory, smoking-related illnesses do. Studies show that smokers do not remember names and faces as well as nonsmokers do.
Eat a healthy diet.
Your brain relies on adequate nutrition for optimal functioning. Eating well will also reduce the risk of developing illnesses, which cause memory loss:
- Eat a broad variety of foods.
- Choose a diet with plenty of grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Eat foods that are low in saturated fat.
- Eat sugars and salt in moderation.
- Use alcohol in moderation.
- Take at least 400 IU of vitamin D daily, but no more than 2,000 IU per day.
Last updated February 10, 2010