Better your brain

While we may not yet know how to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, there are steps you can take to improve the health of your brain throughout your lifetime. These suggestions may give you the best chance of slowing or preventing Alzheimer’s disease.
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A Mediterranean diet—including beans, fish (or vegetarian substitutes), fruits, vegetables, olive oil, nuts, whole grains—contributes to a healthy brain and heart.


Aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain, reduces Alzheimer’s–related senile plaques and inflammation, and enhances the birth of new neural stem cells.


During deep sleep the natural cleaners of your brain—microglia—remove unwanted particles. The recommendation is at least 7 hours each night.


There is evidence that resveratrol, a natural antioxidant in red wine, dark chocolate, and grapes, may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s (in moderation, of course).


When you learn a new, challenging skill such as photography, quilting or playing a musical instrument, you are strengthening the neural networks in your brain.


Having an active social life increases brain activity, reduces stress, and may both trigger and preserve memories. It also helps to ward off depression, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.


It appears that people with high and persistent levels of stress are at increased risk for mild cognitive impairment. Schedule daily activities like meditation, yoga, or spending time with your pet.


Listening to music can evoke emotion and trigger memories. Singing or playing a musical instrument has been shown to help build neural networks.


Some studies have linked poor oral hygiene to dementia—possibly due to increased inflammation or bacteria reaching the brain. A regular visit to your dentist is recommended.