Health & Wellness Articles

13 Ways to Maintain Your Brain

Feed Your Mind to Prevent Disease

664SHARES

5. B-Vitamins
Preliminary research is showing a connection between folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin B-6 intake and Alzheimer’s disease. It appears that people with Alzheimer’s disease have higher levels of homocysteine (a body chemical that causes arteries to clog) in their blood. Although homocysteine levels naturally increase with age, high levels are also due to a diet low in folate, vitamin B-12 and vitamin B-6. Until more is uncovered about this chemical’s effect on the brain, eat a diet high in the B-vitamins. For vitamin B-12, reach for lean meats, fish, chicken, milk and cheese. For vitamin B-6 and folate, include more dark green leafy vegetables such as kale, spinach, and collard greens, broccoli, oranges, orange juice, lima beans, asparagus, whole grains, and fortified grain products.

6. Antioxidants
The brain can be damaged by free radicals in the body and their oxidation effect. So eating a diet high in antioxidants (vitamin E and vitamin C) can help lower the risk of these harmful effects and protect the brain. Dietary sources of vitamin E include whole grains, nuts, seeds, milk, egg yolks, wheat germ, and vegetable oils. Vitamin C sources include citrus fruits, kiwi, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cabbage, tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, and peppers.

7. A Boost with Blueberries
Blueberries contain compounds that can improve short-term memory, navigational skills, balance and coordination. Current research indicates that blueberries can boost weakened neuron signals. Blueberries contain this powerful punch whether fresh, frozen or dried. Enjoy them by the handful, add them to your cereal, muffins, and pancakes, or whip up a blueberry-yogurt smoothie.

8. Stop Smoking
Smokers are more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease as non-smokers. Smoking decreases blood flow to the brain, starving it of oxygen and nutrients. The best defense is to stop smoking, but beta-carotene and flavonoids found in foods may help to offset the effects of smoking to some degree. If you continue to smoke, add more colorful fruits and veggies to your diet. Eat more kale, carrots, broccoli, spinach, cranberries, green and black tea, and legumes.

9. Healthy Heart
High blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, cardiovascular disease and diabetes may also increase the risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Once again, anytime blood vessels are damaged, the blood supply to the brain can be affected. It is important to know your numbers. Monitor your blood pressure reading, lipid profile tests, and blood glucose tests. See your physician regularly. Make appropriate dietary, lifestyle, and medication changes that are necessary to keep your body at peak performance.
Continued ›
‹ Previous Page   Page 2 of 3   Next Page ›
664SHARES

Advertisement -- Learn more about ads on this site.

More Great Features

Connect With SparkPeople

Subscribe to our Newsletters

About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • TURNDAPAGE
    Great Article very informative I took many notes. Let you all know how it goes. - 11/14/2014 9:07:08 PM
  • ITSADOMINICAN
    Great Article! - 11/13/2013 11:59:38 PM
  • Great article and great info. Something to save and go back and read. - 7/4/2013 9:56:07 AM
  • The best way to treat Alzheimers is early detection. Don't take anything the person says or does personally for they are not responsible for their actions with this horrific disease. It robs people and families of their lives. I once was told by my grandparents that your only grown up once and twice a child. I really never knew what they meant, until I had the cance to deal with people with Alzheimers. One of them being my father in law, whom we lost at age 63 to the disease and diabetes. My children didn't fully understand what was happening to their grandfather, but I am happy to say that it was one of their happiest times with him. He would get down in the floor and play board games with them, or trucks and race the little box cars and their faces would light up. It just broke my heart to have to explain to them why he passed away. Sometimes the anger canbe a side effect of the medication if it isn't adjusted right. Talk to the doctor. Not all Alzheimers patients can be cared for at home by family. So please don't feel guity if you have to have them go live in an adult living facility. But I do urge you to visit often and check their care as you can never be to careful to whom you leave a loved ones care. As the healthcare system is so over burden.
    I hope this helps you.
    Love Always Your Sister in Christ Jill - 12/18/2012 10:56:58 AM
  • Alzheimers wow this is what my dad has I still do not know how to help him. I been reading and studying on it and he is becoming just like a child. He blames me for things and it hurts my feelings because I am always helping him out. - 12/12/2012 11:14:24 PM
  • I had to reread this as my Dad died of this and his Dad also had dementia. Not a good prognosis but I do have better genetics on my Mom's side. I don't intend to take this lying down - if I have to go down with this horrid disease it WILL have marks on ITSELF from my fighting it with my last breath. The only thing I did not understand was the stat about weight gain/ loss . My Dad lost a considerable amount of weight after retiring but PRIOR to getting this disease and he did not gain it back to the best of my knowledge or is he just atypical? - 5/10/2012 10:49:02 PM
  • Great article.. will be doing all the above - 5/10/2012 5:33:58 PM
  • ORGANIC811LFRV
    Alzeimers as well as most diseases are totally reversable with rest, joyful activity, a raw food diet that is low in fat and high in fruits. Leafy greens are natures healing product. - 3/4/2012 2:56:52 PM
  • GOSPELCLOWN
    I like that getting moving has been found out to be so helpful. This week I learned that keeping your hearing acute is beneficial to keeping the brain engaged and healthy. - 3/4/2012 2:50:25 PM
  • Very informative article--wish some of my friends had decided to give up smoking and learn to relax before they died so early. Good nutrition and exercise has never been a problem in my group (I am 74 years old), but a certain "need to achieve like the Jones's" has been an issue. The first half of our lives we seem to have been accumulating things and now we are handing those very things off as we try to organize and simplify. My efforts to exercise and find younger friends to replace those lost will perhaps help my brain, too.
    - 3/4/2012 9:46:56 AM
  • I kept thinking a bout tumeric as I had heard about it - is there enough of it in Mustard to make a difference?? i used to do Brain age didn't like it. - 2/4/2012 12:13:53 AM
  • Great information that can easily be incorporated into daily life. - 1/27/2012 9:14:50 AM
  • Thanks so much for this information. I will put these thins into practice, both to help myself and my wonderful husband.
    - 12/16/2011 7:34:17 PM
  • My mom is 83 and still active and alert. She has the typical memory issues that come with advanced age, but then again, so do I (and I'm not yet 40!). Having fibromyalgia - and the "fog" that goes with it - has made me more aware of what I need to do to protect my brain. I've been playing games on http://lumosity.c
    om for the past month and have really seen the benefits - especially with memory and attention. Now, I'm using the nutrition tracker to track my intake of B-12, which this article mentions can be a protective factor for the brain. After having an Indian roommate and developing a tolerance for Indian foods, I now see that adding more turmeric to my diet might be another step in the right direction. I guess the bottom line here is that it's important to be proactive *before* problems arise - not going overboard and doing everything all at once, but finding ways to fit a couple of extra brain-building tips into one's normal lifestyle. - 5/31/2011 7:41:37 AM
  • This is good but I just wonder how often I need to do these things. Like how often do I need to eat blueberries to get the full benefits? - 1/4/2011 2:47:04 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by January 9! Get a FREE Personalized Plan