Good health really can be all in the mind

Good health really can be all in the mind

Take it from the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA): Keeping the brain in good shape goes hand in hand with healthy aging.

Charles Fuschillo Jr., president of the non-profit, New York City-based advocate of Alzheimer’s research and family and caregiver support of those dealing with dementia, said lifestyle choices such as eating a nutritious diet, getting proper sleep, and regularly exercising your body and brain can promote brain health and wellness and potentially reduce risk of developing a dementia-related illness. AFA suggests 10 ways to make that happen.


  • A low-fat diet high on fruit and vegetables, including strawberries, blueberries, and broccoli. Take daily vitamins. Limit red meat, fried and processed food, salt, and sugar. In general, food that’s heart-healthy is also brain-healthy.


  • Stay active with physical activity, which increases blood flow to the brain and can help improve moods and overall well-being. Brisk walks benefit the brain, aerobics can boost heart rate, and weight-training builds strength and flexibility.


  • Challenge your brain by starting a new hobby or doing something differently. Even something as simple as brushing teeth with a different hand stimulates the brain by forcing it to think outside of its normal routine.


  • Get consistent sleep every night–ideally seven to nine hours. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious physical effects and negatively affect memory and thinking.


  • Mind your meds. When getting a new medication or something you haven’t taken in a while (over-the-counter or prescription), talk to a doctor or pharmacist.


  • Stop smoking, limit alcohol. Smoking can increase the risk of serious illnesses, and too much alcohol can impair judgment and cause falls and accidents.


  • Social interaction is important for brain health, cognitive stimulation, and mood. Invite friends and family for a meal, board games, or just to hang out. Engage in communities and participate in group activities.


  • Get checkups. Blood pressure can impact cognitive functioning. Make sure it’s in a normal, healthy range. Health screenings are key to managing chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, all of which can impact brain health. 
  • Brains need regular checkups, too. Memory screenings are quick and non-invasive. AFA offers them free at and at 866-232-8484.
Walking or bicycling at places such as Point Ruston in Tacoma are ways to get exercise that increases blood flow to the brain.