National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month – 3 Brain Facts You Should Know

Senior couple sitting on beach
Here’s to a Healthy, Happy Brain!

It’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month! We thank the 15 million+ Alzheimer’s and dementia caregivers in America.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia, kills brain cells and interferes with cognitive abilities, emotions, behaviour and physical skills. It’s not a regular part of aging. And it’s a progressively debilitating disease that leads to death.

The Numbers

Did you know 47 million people worldwide and 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s? Every 67 seconds an American develops this disease. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the US. It can’t be cured or slowed unlike the other 9 leading causes of death. And two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.

But There Is Hope

Even though there isn’t a cure, drugs and certain actions can manage the disease. Also, research shows that lifestyle factors and a positive outlook can help with brain aging. Recent UK study results conducted by the BBC, Alzheimer’s Society and the Medical Research Council indicate that regular brain training can benefit people over the age of 50. Findings from another well known study reveal that adults who learn new skills and do mentally stimulating activities like crosswords usually have lower rates of dementia. The notable Nun study indicates that an optimistic mind provides a natural defence against Alzheimer’s. And, here’s a twist, even though some nuns actually had the disease, they showed no outward symptoms, thanks to keeping their brains active and positive! Brain training can help maintain brain function and help prevent cognitive decline.

Quick Tips to Maintain Brain Function and Prevent Cognitive Decline

  1.     Hit the Gym
  2.     Nosh on a Healthy Diet
  3.     As Pharrel Williams Sings, Be Happy!
  4.     Challenge Your Mind with our fun free games! [hyperlink]

What is your favorite activity to boost your brain?  Tell us in the comments!  And follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  

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The Fit Brains Team

“Brain Training Success”

Preserve your brain health and preserve your life story!

Caucasian couple looking at photographs with grandchildren
Your life story

Your life story: it’s one of the most important assets you have.  It’s your identity, what makes you, you.  What’s more, it’s your family’s story that helps shape your personal life story.  Do you have fond memories of hearing stories about your family history shared with you by grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles?  Have those stories and collective wisdom helped shape who you are today?  We all want to be able to play a part in keeping our family story and our personal story alive and we do this by sharing our stories with the next generation.  But, none of this would be possible if we do not maintain a healthy brain as we age.  

As we age, we need to keep our memories and our minds sharp so that we can preserve our stories and share them.  One important thing you can do is maximize the health of your brain and strengthen your memory, in order to share your life story, keeping it alive.  Eating a well-balanced diet, getting exercise, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your brain mentally stimulated by engaging in specific activities such as playing brain training games will all have a positive impact on your memory and the overall health of your brain.

Here are some of our other favorite ideas for preserving and sharing your family story:

    1. Begin a family newsletter or a family blog so that you can stay better connected with family members near and far.
    2. Start a scrapbook or photo album about your family.
    3. Put together a family cookbook.
    4. Research your family history (there are a myriad of free and paid online genealogy resources).
    5. Keep a journal and encourage your family members to do the same!
    6. Organize a family reunion.
  • Challenge your brain by playing Fit Brains so that you can stimulate your memory and share your story!

Take some time this month to connect with family members, reflect on your story, and take some steps to focus on your brain health, especially focusing on training your brain for a stronger memory.

It’s National Family Stories Month. What are your favorite ways to preserve and share your family’s story?  Share with us and other readers in the comments section!

Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  And, you can always challenge your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!

Try Fit Brains for FREE Now!

Fit Brains.  “Brain Training Success”.

Train Your Brain On National Dunce Day!

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In honor of National Dunce day we bring you a bit of history about the term “dunce,” and we implore you not to be one.  Dunce day is named for Duns Scotus, a medieval scholar from Scotland, who believed that wearing a cone shaped hat increased one’s learning potential.  The idea was that knowledge would flow from the tip of the hat down into the brain.  Not surprisingly, the idea didn’t really catch on (though it would be pretty great if it actually was this easy to learn new things), and anyone wearing the “dunce cap” was in turn called a “dunce” (and it wasn’t anymore positive then than it is now).

Now, you can choose to either celebrate Dunce day by celebrating stupidity, or you can honor it as a day of improving your brain through brain training.  (We’d offer up a list of stupid things you can do if you choose the former, but we’re afraid that will land us in a heap of trouble so you’re on your own if you go that route.)  

Instead, on this day we want to motivate you to hearken back to the original intentions of Duns Scotus and set aside some time to try and better yourself and train your brain for better health and wellness.  Read a book, train your brain with Fit Brains fun brain games, play some chess, find something that speaks to you today, which can also boost your intellect and your brain health!

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Fit Brains. Brain Training Success.

 

Brain Tips that you (and your brain) will find stimulating!

Older couple playing chess
Playing chess is one great way to stimulate your brain!

Most of us think about mental exercises when we think of brain training.  And of course this is a very important component of brain training!  Did you know that your brain wants to be stimulated and exercised?  When you do something new or somewhat complex your brain will react favorably and will become more resilient!  On the other hand, your brain will suffer if it is too passive or routine.

Mental exercises or mental stimulation can take many different forms, so here are some tips for different ways your can stimulate your brain!

Mental Stimulation

  • Learn something new, such as a new language
  • Travel to new places or use new routes in otherwise familiar setting
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Get crafty and creative (like arts and crafts, not witchcraft)
  • Do focused brain training activities (like Fit Brains)
  • Play board games
  • Read and write

What type of mental activity gives your brain the biggest boost?  Tell us in the comments!  Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle, health & brain tips.  And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!  Try Fit Brains for FREE now!

Fit Brains.  Brain Training Success

Your Shrinking Brain, Spookiest Thing Ever!

Scared Boy
What You Should Be Afraid of Most

Zombies, witches, machete-wielding maniacs, the typical horrors of Halloween have nothing on your shrinking brain.  That’s right.  SHRINKING BRAIN.  Prepare to be scared.  

You may feel perfectly healthy, but your brain is shrinking and you are losing as much as 0.4% of your brain mass every.single.year.  Obviously this isn’t good news.  A shrinking brain means loss of memory and mental sharpness, severe depression and even premature death (cue the sound of that machete-wielding maniac).    

Take heart on this darkest of days.  There are things you can do to prevent your brain from shrinking further and improve your brain health!

  • Get a good night’s sleep (every night).  This is critical.  Every hour of reduced sleep duration= a 0.67% decrease in cognitive function!  
  • Don’t smoke.  I don’t think we need to go into much more detail about this one, but we’ll just add that smoking is associated with faster brain shrinkage and poor brain health.
  • Feel free to indulge in a little light alcohol consumption (this is our favorite tip), but don’t overdue or you’ll only make things worse for your brain (not to mention your liver…) A standard drink= 14.0 grams or 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.
  • Supplement with B vitamins, specifically a combination of folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin B6.  B vitamins regulate homocysteine, which if unchecked, can lead to significant brain shrinkage and dementia.
  • Indulge in Omega 3 fatty acids.  Salmon, walnuts, sardines, beef (specifically grass-fed), soybeans, flaxseeds, tofu, shrimp, brussels sprouts, and cauliflower are some of the foods that are rich in Omega 3’s.     
  • Have a daily dose of pomegranate.  Studies have demonstrated significant improvements in cognition and memory among those who consume 8 ounces of pomegranate juice daily!  
  • Find a way to get Resveratrol (a major component of red grapes and other dark fruits) into your body, whether you like to drink red wine in moderation, or you can simply take a Resveratrol supplement.  
  • Cognitive stimulation and training helps grow more brain cells which counteracts against brain shrinkage.  

So, while there is no denying that you should be worried about your shrinking brain, at least now you know that there is hope when you take the proper steps to maintain better brain health!

Be sure to follow our blog for more lifestyle & health tips.  And, you can always benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!  Try Fit Brains for FREE now! 

Fit Brains.  Brain Training Success