Thursday, August 30, 2012

Ways to Prevent Alzheimer's Part 2

Today I am going to give you steps 3 & 4 on how to prevent dementia. If you missed my post from yesterday, click here.

Step 3: The 777 Stress Bust

Stress is not a good thing, as we know. It can cause all kinds of health problems. Turns out, stress is also bad for your hippocampus, the region in the brain responsible for memory. Stress leads to high levels of cortisol, which is like poison to the hippocampus. Practicing good relaxation techniques is good for your hippocampus, and your memory!

Dr. Oz recommended the 7-7-7 technique. Three times a day, give yourself a moment to take in deep breaths; breathe in while counting to 7, hold your breath for 7 seconds, and finish by exhaling for 7 seconds. Supposedly this method has shown results to reduce stress and increase the size of the hippocampus if practiced over an 8 week period.


Don't be afraid to relax and take a "time out" when life situations become stressful. My personality is one that has to always keep busy. Sometimes it's hard to make myself sit down and relax, but sometimes that's exactly what I need! Make sure to make some time for you, to just kick your feet up and take a break! You owe it to your health!!



Step 4: Tease Your Memory


Do things out of the ordinary to boost your memory. One idea Dr. Oz presented was to memorize your grocery list. He showed that the mind has the ability to memorize lists of 20-30 things. He presented an audience member, on his show, who was given a mock grocery list of 20 things to memorize. He taught her to associate things with each item. For example, if eggs were on her grocery list, she could use a visual image of a chicken laying eggs in it's coop. The next item on the list might be rice. She could picture the farmer feeding his chickens rice; the chickens eat the rice and then return to their coop to lay eggs. It could continue on and on as you build a story around your list and associate the items with a visual reminder. As his audience member practiced this method and returned to show off her memorization skills she had acquired, she recited each of the 20 items on her list without skipping a beat!!

I wonder if this method still works when you have little kids tugging on your coat tails while shopping??? I'll have to test that one out ;)

There are many games and puzzles out there that can help in "teasing" your memory as well. I was just talking to my mother-in-law the other day about this very thing. One of her favorite games to play on her handheld Nintendo DS is a game called "Brain Age". This game quizzes your brain on certain memory exercises. Games such as these can help to keep your mind active and tease your memory.

Tomorrow I will finish up with steps 5 & 6 on how to improve your memory health!

To view part 3, click here.

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