It’s normal for brain function to decline as we age. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. There are things you can do to improve brain function and lower risk of dementia.
For instance, you can use these tricks to improve short term memory. You also need to avoid habits that increase risk of dementia. Avoiding these habits will keep your brain healthy long-term and prevent forgetfulness.
1. Social Isolation
Research shows that people who lack social support have higher risk of dementia. In this study, the risk of Alzheimer’s disease was more than double in lonely participants compared to participants who were not lonely.
Make an effort to spend time with family and friends. You may also want to combat depression because it causes feelings of loneliness.
2. Skimping on Veggies
Research shows that lutein, a nutrient found in green leafy vegetables can help improve memory in adults and youngsters. Kale, spinach, collard greens and broccoli are good sources of lutein. You can also get this nutrient from egg yolk.
3. Not Exercising
Exercise doesn’t just prevent bone and muscle loss as we age, it also improves brain function. In a study conducted on seniors aged between 65 and 85, researchers found that exercising for 30 minutes, 3 times a week, improved brain metabolism and protected the cells. Aim to exercise for at least 90 minutes a week.
According to the World Health Organization, smokers have a 45 percent higher risk of dementia compared to non-smokers. The report also pointed out that 14 percent of Alzheimer’s cases in the world may be linked to smoking. Quit smoking to protect your brain and lower risk of dementia.
5. Lack of Adequate Sleep
I’m willing to bet you know at least a handful of negative side effects of lack of sleep. Well, add dementia to that list. Inadequate sleep can mess with your memory and reduce attention span. Here are daily habits that can help you sleep better.
Too much sleep isn’t good either. According to research, people who sleep longer than 8 hours have a 35 percent higher risk of dementia.
6. Ignoring Chronic Diseases
Did you know that people with diabetes and high blood pressure have higher risk of dementia? Using medication, proper nutrition and exercise to manage these diseases can help prevent dementia.
7. Drinking Too Much
Heavy drinking has been linked to many diseases including stroke, high blood pressure, liver disease, and dementia. Drinking more than one glass of alcohol a night can make your brain shrink which consequently causes memory loss. Drink alcohol in moderation and limit your intake to one glass a day.
This post originally appeared on Care2.com.