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Memory loss: 7 tips to improve your memory
No. 5: Eat a healthy diet
A heart-healthy diet may be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, lean meat and skinless poultry. What you drink counts, too. Not enough water or too much alcohol can lead to confusion and memory loss.
No. 6: Include physical activity in your daily routine
Physical activity increases blood flow to your whole body, including your brain. This may help keep your memory sharp. For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes a week of moderate aerobic activity (think brisk walking) or 75 minutes a week of vigorous aerobic activity (such as jogging) — preferably spread throughout the week. If you don't have time for a full workout, squeeze in a few 10-minute walks throughout the day.
No. 7: Manage chronic conditions
Follow your doctor's treatment recommendations for any chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and depression. The better you take care of yourself, the better your memory is likely to be. In addition, review your medications with your doctor regularly. Various medications can impact memory.
When to seek help for memory loss
If you're worried about memory loss — especially if memory loss affects your ability to complete your usual daily activities — consult your doctor. He or she will likely do a physical exam, as well as check your memory and problem-solving skills. Sometimes other tests are needed as well. Treatment will depend on what's contributing to the memory loss.Previous page
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- Press D, et al. Prevention of dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Dec. 22, 2010.
- Understanding memory loss: What to do when you have trouble remembering. National Institute on Aging. http://www.nia.nih.gov/NR/rdonlyres/F35FE176-B3E6-4FD5-8FA0-C37E53EBCD89/0/understandingmemoryloss.pdf. Accessed Dec. 22, 2010.
- Forgetfulness: Knowing when to ask for help. National Institute on Aging http://www.nia.nih.gov/healthinformation/publications/forgetfulness.htm. Accessed Dec. 22, 2010.
- 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/default.aspx. Accessed Dec. 22, 2010.
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- Angevaren M, et al. Physical activity and enhanced fitness to improve cognitive function in older people without known cognitive impairment. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;CD005381. http://www2.cochrane.org/reviews. Accessed Dec. 22, 2010.
- Grandjean AC, et al. Dehydration and cognitive performance. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2007;26:549S.