Feeling Forgetful? 10 Quick Ways to Improve Brain Health and Cut Dementia Risk

by Dawn Chen
HEALTH  |  October 19, 2017
  • Keep your brain strong and healthy to fight dementia
    1 / 11 Keep your brain strong and healthy to fight dementia

    Have you been getting more forgetful lately (think misplacing things around the house or losing your train of thought while doing something)? If so, it might be time to work on improving your brain health to slash your risk of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Disease Association, dementia is an illness that causes your brain cells to die at an accelerated rate. This leads to an overall mental decline where one experiences failing memory, poor intellectual function and personality changes. Heed these tips from local healthcare start-up Senescence Life Sciences to combat brain ageing to reduce your risk of dementia.

    All photos: www.123rf.com

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  • Take a different route to work
    2 / 11 Take a different route to work

    Most days, we start off our mornings in exactly the same fashion. You wake up, wash up, grab your things and rush out of the house. You go to the exact same bus stop or MRT station and auto-pilot your way till you reach the office. While familiarity is always comfortable, change things up once a week by taking a different route to work on your morning commute. This engages your brain by forcing it to think ahead and keep active. (Also Read: 7 Secrets to Ageing Well And Staying Healthy)


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  • Start a new book and take a break from screen time
    3 / 11 Start a new book and take a break from screen time

    There’s a reason the telly is sometimes referred to as “mind-numbing”. In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, researchers followed over 3,000 adults over a 25-year period and found that participants who watched more than three hours of TV a day had the poorest performance in various cognitive performance tests. The study authors think this could be because of the low physical activity associated with a sedentary lifestyle. If you want to chill out, reach for a book instead or limit the amount of screen time you get.

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  • Brush your hair and teeth with your non-dominant hand
    4 / 11 Brush your hair and teeth with your non-dominant hand

    If you’re a righty, switch to your left hand to brush your teeth. It may feel a bit weird at first, but you’ll be encouraging the formation of new pathways in your brain as you ‘learn’ to use your non-dominant hand.

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  • Volunteer
    5 / 11 Volunteer

    Look out for volunteer opportunities and champion a cause you believe in. Volunteering is not only good for your health, but it’s also been shown to improve cognitive function. In a recent study, senior participants who continuously volunteered were less likely to be prescribed anti-dementia treatment than those who didn’t volunteer.

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  • Exercise with friends
    6 / 11 Exercise with friends

    The benefits of exercise just seem to keep on increasing, and here’s one more to add to the list: Keeping physically active is great for your brain and has been shown to slow down cognitive decline. Make the most out of your workout time by combining your sweat sesh with socialising. Try group fitness classes or sports like tennis or partner yoga. (Also Read: The Best Group Fitness Classes in Singapore – All Tried & Tested!)

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  • Learn to manage your stress
    7 / 11 Learn to manage your stress

    Stress has become such a big part of our lives that we may brush it off as normal. However, results from a 38-year longitudinal study found that middle-aged women who had longstanding stress had an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease. These stressors ranged from a divorce to work problems and illnesses in loved ones. While stress is inevitable, you can learn to manage yours by finding an outlet. This could be through meditation, exercise, music or even just socialising and sharing your problems with friends. (Also Read: 5 Stretches to Relieve Back Pain And De-Stress After Work)

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  • Enjoy the outdoors
    8 / 11 Enjoy the outdoors

    There’s nothing quite as simultaneously energising and relaxing as spending time in nature. In a study published by the Natural England journal, it was shown that engaging in the natural environment either through walks or visiting parks was beneficial for dementia patients and their carers. Spending time outdoors also increases physical activity while calming the mind.

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  • Indulge in some dark chocolate
    9 / 11 Indulge in some dark chocolate

    You don’t need another reason to enjoy dark chocolate, but you can now dig in knowing that chocolate is now also recognised as a brain food. Cocoa has a high amount of flavonoids which have been shown to slow down the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

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  • Get your 7-8 hours of shuteye a night
    10 / 11 Get your 7-8 hours of shuteye a night

    Sleep is not just for the weak – it’s for everybody, really. Getting proper rest is crucial for your health and brain since sleep supports memory consolidation. Based on a study conducted in mammals, scientists found that your brain is actually working hard to file away newly encoded experiences and turn them into longer term memories while you sleep.

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  • Load up on omega-3s
    11 / 11 Load up on omega-3s

    Omega-3 fatty acids are some of the best things you can eat for your heart and brain. They play a crucial role in brain health and cognitive function – one of the symptoms of omega-3 deficiency is actually poor memory! Unfortunately, your body can’t naturally produce these fatty acids so you have to get them from food sources like salmon, tuna, walnuts and chia seeds.

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