A sound memory, like financial security, should be planned for years in advance through lifestyle habits and activities. Baby boomers preparing for their golden years should take note of the loss of mental function that plagued their parents. The impact of this disorder is immeasurable, as it affects a patient’s quality of life and eventually, the ability to take care for their being.

Memory loss and dementia can also place a great burden on family members and caregivers. The growth of the population of individuals over 80 years of age, combined with the high prevalence of dementia, now estimated at 30 percent or higher in those 85 and older, will place a huge burden on the healthcare system in coming years. The annual cost of treating dementia is ever-growing, currently reported at $100 billion in the U.S. and around $150 billion worldwide [Source: Leon, Desai, Wimo]. Many nutritional strategies are available to maintain healthy brain function during the transition into later age.

It’s important to remember that it is much easier to protect what memory we have, than to regain that which we have lost. Take advantage of the nutritional, functional and mental therapies available to prevent memory loss. The brain is very similar to our muscles. You have to use it or you’ll lose it. Experts believe that those engaged in mental challenges, puzzles, activities, crafts and other stimulating interests will retain better mental sharpness. This is great news as crossword puzzles, card and board games don’t require a trip to your doctor, or a prescription. As it provides very little mental challenge, extended television watching should be avoided.

Follow some of the principles below and develop your own mind-saving preventative strategies. Those concerned about existing memory loss might never get it back, but starting a program now can prevent further loss of function.

Diet always plays a significant role in preventing any chronic illness. Maintaining a healthy intake prevents inflammation in the brain, and keeps the blood vessels delivering life-sustaining oxygen, free of disease. Research has shown that higher fruit, vegetable and fish intake correlates with better brain health [Source: Barberger-Gateau]. Consuming produce such as blueberries and broccoli provides important protection to all of our cells. Organic food sources are recommended to help limit the ingestion of potentially toxic pesticides. The ever-increasing exposure to toxic metals, like mercury, lead or chemicals like the phthalates and PCBs are considered a major threat to our overall health. Children and the elderly are often the most vulnerable to the damages of these chemicals. Keeping your food, body and environment as chemical-free as possible is a major component of optimal health.

On the next page, learn about vitamins and nutrients that can help prevent memory loss and dementia.