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Five Tips to Strengthen Memory

     To lose one's memory is a frightening thought. Alzheimer's disease, as well as other cognitive diseases, are on the rise, mostly because of the number of baby boomers but also because we are living longer.  Here are a few tips that may help prevent memory loss - try them to strengthen your mind and protect your memory:
     1. Eat foods high in omega-3 fatty acids. Plan meals that have adequate amounts of vitamins B, C, E, iron, and even zinc. If you find your meals aren't covering the recommended daily amounts for your age/height/weight, take a vitamin to supplement. You can also look into the side effects of medications that you take. Some may make it difficult to think clearly. Review your meds with your doctor.
     2. Keep a schedule - especially a sleep schedule. Having a routine to follow helps you remember important events and things you must do. Getting adequate sleep is also important. It's not only the number of hours you sleep that's truly important, it's the quality of sleep. Going to bed and getting up at approximately the same time each day helps you keep a fresh mind and to think more clearly during the day.
     3. Stay active - mentally and physically. Studies show that active people are less likely to develop Alzheimer's. Aerobic and weight-bearing exercises, as appropriate for your age, are extremely helpful to get the blood flowing. Work with your doctor on what exercises are appropriate for you. In addition to that, play memory games (like thinking of more than one solution to a problem or recalling people's names), word games, and brain teasers to exercise your mind.
     4. Use your strengths. Everyone learns and uses memory differently. Find out what works for you. Are you a visual person or a verbal person? Once you discover, use those techniques to help your memory. For example, a visual person can visualize the thing they are trying to remember.
     5. Slow down and focus. In our fast-paced society, where multi-tasking is the norm and distractions are all around us, slow down and focus on yourself and what you need to do or remember. Block out distractions and focus on the things you need to remember.
     It's normal for our ability to recall memories, and how we store memories, to change as we grow older. It's never too late to find ways to help yourself remember and recall things. Get out and exercise that brain!

(Adapted from All About U, winter 2012 edition, article "Terrific tips to strengthen your memory" from the experts at BeWell.com)

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