Your brain’s volume gradually shrinks as you get older. When this occurs, some of the nerve cells in your brain can shrink or lose connections with other nerve cells. Blood flow within your brain slows somewhat in old age, as well. These age-related changes are thought to be behind the differences in cognitive function many people notice as they age.
Here are some ways by which you can prevent this age related loss of memory:
- Control cholesterol problems and high blood pressure. These conditions can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke, which are thought to contribute to the development of certain types of dementia. Cardiovascular health — having healthy blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure, along with being physically active, eating a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and not smoking — was associated with better cognitive function in a 2014 study published in PLoS One.
- Don’t smoke or drink excessively. Because these are both seen as putting you at increased risk for dementia, kick the habit if you smoke and, if you drink, do so only in moderation.
- Exercise regularly. Regular physical activity is thought to help maintain blood flow to the brain and reduce your risk for conditions such as high blood pressure that are associated with the development of dementia. Consistent vigorous exercise helps lower the risk for dementia, according to a study published in Annals of Medicine in 2015.
- Eat a healthy diet. People who consume plenty of vegetables and fatty fish and keep away from saturated fats are thought to have a lower risk for cognitive decline.
- Stimulate your brain. People with less education are at higher risk for dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, because mental stimulation throughout your lifetime is important for your brain health. Keep your mind active by increasing your level of social interaction,learning new skills, playing challenging games, and doing other activities that require an engaged mind. People who are more socially and intellectually involved are less likely to develop dementia.