Tag Archives: brain health lifestyle

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.  

Play a FREE Fun Brain Game Now

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.
  • Maximize your brain health by playing Fit Brains so that you can maintain 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 benefit your brain when you play Fit Brains fun brain games!

Try Fit Brains for FREE Now!

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

Brain Health: Physical Activity & Your Brain

Physical Activity

Get Moving for a Healthier, Happier Brain!

Now, more than ever before, people are taking the time to learn about the human brain and the many ways they can improve their brain health.  Brain health is about more than disease prevention (though that’s obviously important too); it’s about leading a lifestyle, supported by science, which promotes and facilitates cognitive, emotional, physical ability, spiritual health, and relational health (read: relationships).  Basically when you focus on brain health you can live your life to the fullest.

But what does it look like to actually put this into practice?  We’re devoting some upcoming posts to lay out specific suggestions for improving your brain health, based on research from Dr. Nussbaum’s Brain Health Lifestyle (see www.paulnussbaum.com).  Our first post in this series focuses on physical activity to improve your brain health.

When it comes to physical activity, studies conducted by the University of Adelaide, Australia, have shown that a single 30 minute session of physical activity benefits your brain (as reported in Medical Daily).  Researchers say physical activity makes your brain more “plastic”, which can help things like memory, motor skills and learning in general.  It also increases circulation, which helps for more efficient delivery of nutrients and the like.  That’s probably worth getting out the stationary bike for, right?  There are lots of different ways you can move to benefit your brain though!       

Here are some of our favorite suggestions for exercise to boost your brain health:

  •         Walk a mile daily
  •         Up the ante with aerobics 3 times a week (yeah, break out that old Jane Fonda video)
  •         Dance!
  •         Try some mild weight training
  •         Try Yoga, Pilates, Barre (or whatever they come out with next!)
  •         Basically, whatever you do, DON’T JUST SIT THERE!

What type of physical activity gives your brain the biggest boost?  Tell us in the comments!  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.

Source: Caba, Justin. Your Brain On Exercise: 30 Minutes of Physical Activity Makes Your Brain More ‘Plastic’. Medical Daily. 2014.

Pets and Health

I am often asked about the value of having and caring for pets on general health. Research supports a positive relationship between having a pet and general health with more specific value in reducing blood pressure. Pets can create a vital role for someone as the dog, cat or other pet needs to be fed, walked, cleaned etc. Sometimes, caring for a pet can be the major role in a person’s life, particularly if someone is living alone.

A pet can also provide unconditional love, friendship, companionship, and a sense of family. Many people consider their pets significant members of the family and it is quite normal to experience grief when a pet dies.

For those who do not and cannot own a pet there are opportunities in the community to spend time with animals and to even “pet sit” for a family who may be out of town. I am also aware of some places that simply ask for the animals to be walked every so often. These are good opportunities to interact with a pet and to enjoy some of the health benefit that comes with it.

Simple Ways to Improve Your Healthy Brain Lifestyle

  • To reduce unhealthy stress levels, take up yoga, meditate, laugh, exercise, or care for a pet.
  • The easiest way to challenge your brain is to choose a “word of the day” and then work the word into a conversation.  Improving vocabulary is a great way to challenge your brain daily.
  • Ten minutes of focusing on the positive and visualizing the future each day can change the way you look at life, opening your mind to new possibilities.
  • Take advantage of your natural learning booster by believing something is important. If we try to learn without feeling interested, very little of that information will be saved in our memories. When we tell ourselves that what we’re learning is important, our brains join in, triggering our learning circuits.
  • Try making a list of ten things you are thankful for – just doing this daily can make a big difference in your everyday attitude and help manage stress. There is a definite connection between healthy living and having a positive outlook on life.

Click here for more tips to encourage a Healthy Brain Lifestyle…