Updated: Oct 28, 2020
This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in April of 2020. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUWLfXxI2Bc
Bob: Today we’re going to talk about how to improve and reverse memory loss and that includes dementia and Alzheimer’s. Its science based. We also have some home remedies.
Brad: It kind of covers a broad spectrum of cognitive issues. And I really like the book we will be discussing. It really follows along with a lot of our previous thoughts and education on the topic over the years.
Bob: Yeah, we’re not experts in these fields, but we can read from people that are experts.
Brad: All right here we go. So as we mentioned, Bob and I, or any therapist really has worked quite a bit with people with cognitive issues. And we joke around now that we’re nearing 60 years old, our memory is-
Bob: Not what it used to be.
Brad: Exactly. So how do you keep that memory going for yourself, your grandmother, whoever it may be. Because it’s often times associated with aging.
Brad: So we’re going to give you some good options that you can do at home. A lot of it is diet, but not all of it. We’ve got five good options and a few things you want to avoid.
Bob: All right, let’s go.
Brad: All right. So, the information I got, science-based, is by Dr. Martha Clare Morris, and the book is called “Diet for the Mind”.
Brad: She’s done a lot of great research. This is her passion, you can tell, she’s really involved with it. I’m not going to cite all the research she did, because it is extensive. I recommend reading the book.
Brad: These aren’t necessarily in order, but #1 – proper sleep. It's best if you can sleep on a regular routine. Bob, you read a whole book on this.
Bob: I did read a whole book on this. “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker, is the book. He went into this in great detail. Lack of sleep can have a devastating effect on your memory and he also mentioned two historic examples, Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. Both ended up with Alzheimer’s but also both of them were noted for getting by on very little sleep.
Bob: Now maybe it was a coincidence, maybe not. But, if anybody thinks they can get by on four or five hours of sleep on a regular basis, they’re kidding themselves.
Brad: It’s going to catch up to you.
Brad: Next, and obviously as therapists we’re going to full-heartedly promote this, is #2 consistent exercise.
Bob: I’ve seen that again and again, the effect on memory loss and dementia with exercise is a positive effect.
Brad: Right, right. As a matter of fact, right now with this COVID-19, I’ve noticed it in my mother. She has to stay in her room. I’ve noticed in the last week and a half, she didn’t take her pills right this time and she always does. And so I’m concerned about that.
Bob: She’s getting no stimulus; she’s getting no exercise.
Brad: Right, so don’t forget your exercise, it doesn’t have to be aggressive exercise, just a nice walk.
Bob: Ongoing exercise.
Brad: And outside is better than indoors, assuming the weather’s appropriate.
Bob: Also, in nature is better than urban.
Brad: That’s a good point too. We read a study on that in the last couple of years as well. So out in a nice peaceful area, flowers growing, etc. It all makes sense.
Brad: Next is #3 learn to relax. There’s options, here. Meditation or just sitting in a quiet area and think about your breathing.
Bob: Breathing is huge. We’ve got some videos on breathing technique. There’s four-four-four, there’s four-seven-eight, I mean there’s all these different techniques that work really well on taking your breath from being shallow to extending it out and taking it in which relaxes you. Less stress, less cognitive issues. You can find that video at:
Brad: Right. So get yourself in a quiet area with good posture. I’ll just briefly go through a technique: Make sure you breathe in through your nose, let your abdomen extend out so you’re not all tight. Then you exhale. If you just do it in a slow manner in and a slow, controlled manner out while you’re relaxed, it’s going to help. And again, we have some videos specifically, how to go over that.
Bob: This can help with all portions of your life, not just the memory loss things.
Brad: Exactly. The next thing now, this is big. She really goes into #4 and 5 food and diet, obviously, since it’s the name of the book. But there’s a list we’ll go through. First, not necessarily the most important, but it was up on her list -Leafy greens. Fresh is better than frozen. So we’re talking about, spinach. Bob, you know this better than I do.
Bob: Ah, spinach, a little spinach. That’s all I eat.
Brad: But any leafy green really, the darker green is usually better. Kale is another example. Now the iceberg lettuce, the round ball lettuce isn’t as good as the darker greens. And we prefer organic and it’s pretty easy to get organic leafy greens nowadays in a grocery store.
Brad: Other vegetables like asparagus, broccoli, yams are other good vegetables. Potatoes too but they are getting a bad rap over the last couple years. And you know, I grew up on potatoes and so did my mother. But, Dr. Morris was not big on potatoes.
Bob: What you put on the potatoes quite often is the problem.
Brad: Then you have nutrient-dense, whole grains. This one you many need to do a little homework on, and the book goes into that a little bit, because food manufacturers may try to trick you.
Bob: Right, it may say whole grains and you literally read on the ingredients and they aren’t as whole grain as they say they are.
Brad: Quinoa is a big one that has some really unique characteristics that other grains don’t have. I like oatmeal, but it’s steel-cut, organic oatmeal. It’s a really good source of fiber. It is, you know, it’s a little high in carbs but it’s got some good nutrient value.
Brad: Dr. Morris was also really big on berries: blueberries, blackberries.