Sure Ways to Never Forget Anything, Says Dr. Sanjay Gupta
Never forgetting anything might seem like a tall order. But a few years ago, so did preventing age-related memory loss and dementia. Today, science has determined there are specific things you can do to preserve your brain health in the golden years. They're easy, and you can start now. That's the focus of Keep Sharp, the new book by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a neurosurgeon and chief medical correspondent for CNN. So to boost your memory and slash the risk of dementia, read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You Have "Long" COVID and May Not Even Know It.
Movement is the most important thing you can do for the brain, writes Gupta in Keep Sharp. "When you move, it's almost like you're signaling to the body and to the brain, 'I want to be here. I'm not ready to go,'" he said on CBS Sunday Morning in January. When you move, the brain releases natural chemicals like neurotrophins, which nourish it. When you're inactive throughout the day, Gupta suggests asking yourself, "Do I need to be sitting right now?" If the answer is "no," get up and move. "It's so effective in terms of what it does for the brain," he said.
Focus on Quality Sleep
"We're learning that the brain is constantly going through this 'rinse cycle' at night," said Gupta in the Sunday Morning interview. While we sleep, the brain seems to clear away debris and toxins that can lead to dementia. To ensure that cycle runs optimally, Gupta and other experts advise getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep each night. "If you're dreaming in the morning right before you wake up, that's a pretty good sign," he said. "That probably means that you've spent a fair amount of your evening, your night, consolidating memories and going through the rinse cycle."
Get Regular Exercise
"Exercise, both aerobic and nonaerobic (strength training), is not only good for the body; it's even better for the brain," writes Gupta in Keep Sharp. "The connection between physical fitness and brain fitness is clear, direct, and powerful." He suggests mixing up your fitness regimen because learning and doing new things also aids brain health.
Eat a Healthy Diet
In the book, Gupta writes that what's "good for the heart is good for the brain" and "clean living can slash your risk of developing a serious mind-destroying disorder, including Alzheimer's disease, even if you carry genetic risk factors."
Clean living involves consuming less red meat and processed food while emphasizing fruits and vegetables, and one brain food in particular: "Berries, in terms of what they can do for the brain and some of these certain chemicals that they release, are probably going to be one of your best foods," said Gupta.
Social interaction is a major contributor to neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells. "We know that social interaction is so critically important" in lowering the risk of dementia, said Gupta. "We are social creatures. We know that there are certain neurochemicals that are released when we actually can touch and look someone directly in the eye." To keep your brain healthy, stay connected to others. And to get through life at your healthiest, don't miss these 13 Everyday Habits That Are Secretly Killing You.