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Don't let time take your memories

If you think getting older automatically means your memory goes downhill, think again. A recent study in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that cognitive decline is not a normal part of aging for most people. Seventy percent of the study's elderly subjects showed no significant loss of brain function over a 10-year period.

So don't assume that aging takes away your brain power. You can do a lot to keep your brain sharp for the rest of your life -- even if you live past 100.

Avoid atherosclerosis. As you get older, your arteries gradually become less flexible, which could affect blood flow to your brain. If you also have built-up fatty deposits in your arteries, you're even more likely to suffer a loss of brain power. The JAMA study found that people with severe atherosclerosis are at a much higher risk for memory loss.

To keep your brain functioning at its peak for years to come, control your risk factors for atherosclerosis now. A high-fat diet, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle can make you more susceptible to atherosclerosis. So can high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes. Read more about these conditions to learn how to avoid them.

Keep moving. You know exercise is good for your body, but did you know it's also good for your mind ? Aerobic exercise may be particularly effective.

One recent study found that small increases in aerobic fitness improved mental fitness, especially functions that control the ability to plan and organize. You don't have to join an aerobics class, either. Study participants engaged in brisk walking as their aerobic exercise.

And a recent study on mice indicated that exercise may even stimulate the growth of new brain neurons, which until recently was not believed to occur in adult mammals.

Break the stress cycle. Cutting stress from your life completely may be an impossible task, but if you value your memories, you should at least try to control your stress level.

Research finds that extreme stress causes your hippocampus to shrink. This is the part of your brain most closely involved with memory. A study of Vietnam vets with post-traumatic stress syndrome found that those who spent more time in combat had significantly smaller hippocampi.

You may not have the stress level of a soldier in combat, but controlling your anxieties may help you hold onto your pleasant memories a little longer.

Feed your brain. Your brain needs nourishment just like your body. A large study of people over age 60 found memory problems in almost 20 percent of those who skipped meals or did not eat enough. Only 7 percent of those who are regular meals had poor memories.

Get plenty of vitamin E. The same study found that elderly people with low levels of vitamin E were more likely to have poor memories. Foods high in vitamin E include wheat germ oil (and most plant-based oils), peanuts, and mangoes.


Age successfully, it's in your hands

Preventing brain aging

Powerhouses of cells

Ageing and antioxidants

Ageing and supplements

Steps to prevent premature ageing

Coping with ageing

It's the inside that counts

Ageing and Fitness

Turn back the clock

Beauty is within reach

Don't let time take your memories

Boost your aging brain with blueberries

6 ways calcium fights aging

Eat right to age well














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