Seniors can Prevent Cognitive Decline with Healthy Diet & Activity – Ottawa

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brain games2There are several ways that seniors can take charge of their own health to avoid cognitive impairment and disease.

One way is to regularly engage in mentally stimulating activity.

Brain Training Games

Studies show that brain training games are very useful for helping keep the mind focused, and in optimal working order.

Aging does have its natural effects on memory and cognition, but these normal effects do not include cognitive impairment and dementia.

Brain games can be a good way to keep the mind active and engaged, which helps prevent cognitive decline.

Card Games

Card games are an excellent activity for seniors, because they involve focus, memory, and pattern recognition.

Most cards games are also multi-player, including social activity in the mix. Research shows that social interaction is extremely important for staving off early onset dementia, as well as for preventing depression in seniors.

Cribbage

Cribbage is a perfect two player game. It involves planning, calculations, pattern recognition, and memory.

Euchre

If you have four people, euchre is one of the best social games out there. Played in teams of two, it involves cooperation, discretion, memory, and playing the odds.

Gin Rummy

This old classic is a good one because it is easy to learn, but requires focus and attention to be effective.

Go Fish

This easy game is a good one to play with grandchildren, and it is good for the memory.

Bridge

This may be ultimate in mentally challenging card games. It requires strategy, critical thinking, and quick decision making. It is also and excellent social event.

Other Good Brain Games

There are many other useful brain training games to get involved in besides cards. Boardgames, puzzles, and word games have been shown to be very effective in promoting sustained cognitive function.

Bingo

This one is a great activity because of its popularity amongst the senior community. Bingo is not only helpful for keeping the mind engaged, but it can also be a fun night out.

It requires focus and ongoing attention, while utilizing the short term memory.

Chess

This game has it all when it comes to challenging mental capacity. It involves careful planning, effective strategizing, focus, and memory.

This popular game stimulates activity in both hemispheres of the brain, and can be played online with opponents around the globe, or in person with friends and family.

Sudoku

A good activity that requires logic and problem solving, as well as memory and concentration.

Scrabble

This is a great multi-player game that uses language expertise as well as calculation skills.

Focus is needed for creating words that maximize scores, as well as questioning the validity of your opponent’s words.

Plus, the game never unfolds the same way twice.

Checkers

This another simple brain game that can be fun to play with kids.

Healthy Diet to Promote Cognitive Health

In addition to stimulating brain games, a nutritious diet is another effective way for keeping the mind healthy.

Research has shown that people who maintain a Mediterranean diet have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

The Mediterranean diet is a loosely applied term to basically any diet that focuses on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and quality fish and poultry.

Mediterranean Diet Staples

While a Mediterranean diet can generally be mixed and matched based on personal preferences, there are some basic staples that persist to make the diet effective.

These stapes include:

  • Fish – salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel
    • Fish that is high in omega 3 fatty acids
  • Poultry – free range, organic chicken
  • Fruit – 3 or 4 servings of fresh fruit per day
    • Smoothies are a good option for getting your fruit quota
  • Vegetables – also 3 or 4 servings a day
    • Focus on leafy greens and other nutrient rich veggies
  • Whole grains – bread, rice, pasta, and cereal made with whole grains
    • Avoid processed foods such as white bread
  • Nuts and seeds
    • Healthy snack that is a good source of fiber, protein, and monosaturated fat

Benefits of a Mediterranean Diet

There are many advantages to maintaining a healthy Mediterranean diet.

Some of the benefits, may include:

  • Lower cholesterol
  • Reduced blood pressure
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Lower risk of dementia
  • Improved cognitive function
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