Research suggests that 4 in 10 cases of dementia may be preventable by adopting specific habits. Because Alzheimer’s can begin to develop 20-30 years before the onset of symptoms, there is no better time than NOW to start building a more dementia-resistant brain.
Here at HFC, we’re committed to teaching you how to better care for your brain and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.Your brain healthy journey starts HERE!
Why Living a Brain-Healthy Life Matters
There is new scientific evidence to support that living a brain-healthy lifestyle today can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias tomorrow.
In fact, 1 in 3 cases of Alzheimer’s disease may be preventable by adopting and regularly practicing HFC’s 5 BrainHealth Habits. For an epidemic that has no cure and no way to slow the progression of the disease, this is huge news!
And, because Alzheimer’s actually begins in the brain up to 20-30 years before the onset of symptoms, there is no better time than now to start building a more Alzheimer’s-resistant brain.
We are excited to help you jumpstart your brain-healthy journey, teach you how to better care for your brain, and hopefully reduce your risk of cognitive decline.
Richard Isaacson, M.D.: Alzheimer’s prevention
9 Ways We Can Reduce Dementia Worldwide 35%
Aspen Brain Institute: Promoting Brain Health and Preventing Brain Disease for Life
National Institute on Aging Take Control of Your Brain’s Destiny
Sleep allows our bodies and minds to heal and organize themselves in preparation for another day. Think of sleep as the night crew that cleans an office building, so the work of the next day is unimpeded by yesterday’s paperwork, those muddy footprints the mailman tracked in, or the leftovers Kevin always forgets in the break room. A clean office is a productive office, and a rested brain is a productive - and healthy - brain.
Remember, when it comes to sleep, quality is just as important as quantity!
Here are some tips for a great night’s sleep and a well-rested brain:
Get 7-9 hours of a sleep a day.
Keep your bedroom cool and dark.
Go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
Try brown noise to relax and block out outside noise.
Avoid bright and blue light before bed. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, don’t check your phone!
Avoid heavy meals and exercise 1-2 hours before bed.
Avoid sleeping pills and other over-the-counter sleep remedies unless instructed by your doctor.
Avoid alcohol in excess and caffeine late in the day.
Sleep with Seth Rogen - Fall asleep, that is. Let Seth guide you through a bedtime meditation.
Why Sleep Is Important for Brain Health via the American Brain Foundation
Sleep Is Your Superpower via sleep scientist, Matt Walker
National Sleep Foundation
How Sleep Helps Prevent Chronic Disease via Peter Attia, MD
We know we need to eat well. But did you know that, of all our organs, our brains are most easily damaged by poor diet?
Enter the MIND diet.
MIND stands for “Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.” DASH stands for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension.” This is less important and far more complicated than the diet itself.
To put it simply, the MIND diet is a blend of two diets proven to support brain health.
five ½-cup servings weekly
Blueberries are the best. Wild blueberries are even better.
two single-tablespoon servings daily
EVOO should replace butter, margarine, and vegetable oil.
🚨Myth-Buster: coconut oil, while often marketed as a brain-healthy oil or even as a tool to slow Alzheimer’s, is not either, according to science.
Three things to look for when shopping for good EVOO:
- It comes from California or one single place (no blends)
- It’s in a dark bottle or tin
- It has a harvest date on the label
seven cups weekly
The darker the better, think: kale, spinach, collard greens, swiss chard, bok choy, etc.
snack on these most days
Allergic to nuts? Seeds are a good alternative. Flax, pumpkin, and sunflower, to name a few.
½ cup every other day
Beans beans they’re good for your heart… and that means they’re good for your brain!
Include these daily
For example: oats, quinoa, dark rices
at least once a week
On the flip side: have fewer than four servings of red meat and meat products (like sausage) weekly.
at least twice weekly
Have fewer than five sweets weekly
and stick to dark chocolate when you do!
Here’s a day’s worth of brain healthy recipes from HFC’s Chief Executive Foodie, Dr. Annie Fenn of Brain Health Kitchen:
This is Your Brain on Food with Dr. Uma Naidoo via MEDspiraition
Do’s and Don’ts of the MIND diet
Top Nutrients for a Better Brain with Dr. Drew Ramsey via Dhru Purohit
Get Your Brain Food Score from Dr. Drew Ramsey
The Brain Health Kitchen Shopping List via Dr. Annie Fenn
We knowwwww. Exercise can be daunting. There’s the lifting of heavy things, the putting them down… but trust us, it’s worth it. Exercise is GREAT for your brain!
The key to creating and sticking to an exercise plan is finding what works for YOU. It’s all about:
The list of things improved by exercise is LONG. Here are just a few:
Growth of new brain cells
There’s a lot of science behind what kind of exercise to do for max brain health benefits. Every individual is different and your healthcare provider can help you determine what’s best for you. Here are two types of exercise to consider:
AKA High Intensity Interval Training aka exercising in short, intense periods with rest in between.
Research shows that HIIT has a positive effect on the brain’s neuroplasticity.
Yup… if HIIT sounds overwhelming, start by simply walking.
A recent study found that older adults who took 9,800 steps each day were 50% less likely to develop dementia as a result. Those who took 3,800 steps daily saw a 25% reduction in risk.
And, speed matters! The faster you walk, the bigger the benefits. So, add a short speed walk (7-10 minutes) to your day to boost your brain health!
In general, shoot for 120 minutes of exercise that gets your heart pumping each week.
Exercise to Reduce the Risk of Alzheimer's Disease via Richard Isaacson, M.D. & Peter Attia, M.D.
Physical Activity and Brain Health via the National Library of Medicine
The Brain-Changing Benefits of Exercise via Dr. Wendy Suzuki
The 3 Best Types of Exercise for Boosting Brain Function via The Genius Life
It’s like exercise, but for your brain.
One of the best ways to work out your brain is by teaching it new things. Active learning improves memory, creativity, mood, and self-esteem. Incorporating learning into your daily routine, such as reading, taking courses, or trying new hobbies, keeps your brain active and engaged.
Keeping your mind active is one of the most impactful ways to delay the onset of cognitive decline.
🚨Myth-buster! We hate to break this to you but… crossword puzzles are not the best exercise for your brain. They are great for improving vocabulary, but they are too passive and repetitive to stimulate your brain the way you would if you were learning something new. Remember neuroplasticity? Crossword puzzles may help maintain existing neural connections, but they are not likely to create new ones. To promote neuroplasticity, it's important to engage in activities that challenge the brain in new and different ways.
Examples of CogFit exercises: (any activity that challenges and stimulates the brain)
- Learning a new language
- Playing a musical instrument
- Engaging in social activities
- Learning a new skill (such as cooking, woodworking, or painting)
Alzheimer's, Memory, and How to Keep our Brains Healthy as We Age via NPR
Train Your Brain via Harvard Medical School
9 Tactics to Build a Stronger Mind with Lisa Genova via BigThink
The BrainHealth Project