Brain-Healthy Tips From Our Move For Minds Experts

Below are valuable insights from our community of experts – scientists, researchers, nutritionists, advocates, caregivers, and more — who participated in our 2017 Move For Minds events across the country. To learn more about the event and help us wipe out Alzheimer’s, go here.


Exercise to increase blood flow to your brain. Low blood flow is the number-one brain imaging predictor of Alzheimer’s.
Daniel Amen, M.D. – Amen Clinics

Break a sweat. Exercise vigorously at least three times a week. Even a brisk walk will do.
Michael Gervais – Senior Manager, Equinox

Get your feet on the ground. New research shows that the foot’s impact when walking or running can create forces that increase blood supply to the brain. If you currently take all of your exercise seated or on a machine that holds your feet in place, mix it up by adding activities that have you pounding the pavement.
Katy Bowman – Biomechanist, Nutritious Movement

On your feet! Stand as much as possible throughout the day to stimulate the growth of new brains cells.
Pamela Peeke, M.D. – Peeke Performance Center for Healthy Living

Drink water before, during and after any workout. Your brain needs water as much as your muscles do.
Flip Aguilera – SweatNation


Keep your gut happy to keep your brain happy. They are connected and both need healthy bacteria. Eating probiotics like kefir and fermented foods help promote healthy guts and brains.
David Perlmutter, M.D. – Perlmutter Health Center

Paint your plate green. Focus on dark, nutrient-dense leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables. Science shows that kale will improve your cognition, memory and mood.
Rebecca Katz, M.S. – Author: The Healthy Mind Cookbook

Eat fish. Fish contains fatty acids that are the building blocks of brain cells. Weekly fish consumption is associated with reduced risk of brain shrinkage, memory problems and Alzheimer’s disease.
Joshua Grill, Ph.D. – UC Irvine Mind Institute

Go nuts! All nuts and seeds provide antioxidants, fiber and healthy fats that help regulate blood sugar and lower cholesterol levels.
A daily handful of walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts, and certain seeds provide vitamin E, an essential protector of brain cells.
Nancy Emerson Lombardo, Ph.D. – Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center

Spice up your brain. New research suggests cinnamon boosts neuroplasticity and improves the structural integrity of brain cells in the hippocampus, a key memory area of the brain. Try sprinkling some cinnamon on your morning coffee.
Marie Pasinski, M.D. – Massachusetts General Hospital

Drink tea. Tea is full of polyphenols called catechins which have been shown to help keep the brain plaque-free. Recent research found
that daily tea drinkers (unsweetened, of course) lower their risk for Alzheimer’s.
Max Lugavere – Health Vlogger


Use humor. Laugh a little, or better yet make someone else laugh. Numerous studies have shown that humor can relieve stress, help stimulate your immune system and even reduce pain.
Ann Romney – Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Meditation is both a stress management and brain-boosting tool. Use it. Even a few minutes a day shows a lowering of stress, inflammation, depression, and improvement in memory, mood and even your genes.
Christopher Walling, Psy.D. – Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation

Go for silent walks. You can observe all that is around you, giving your brain space to breathe fresh air.
Mallika Chopra –

An effective exercise in mindfulness is to perform a relatively habitual activity – like washing the dishes or eating a meal – with unbroken focus, using your breath to keep you present. Notice that it changes your relationship to the task and your overall energy.
Rebecca Pacheco – Yoga & Meditation Teacher


Stump yourself. Challenge and activate your mind. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.
Anafidelia Tavares, M.D., MPH – Alzheimer’s Association

Stay mentally curious.
Reisa Sperling, M.D. – Center for Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Stop multitasking. Perform tasks sequentially for optimal brain performance, productivity and accuracy.
Sandra Chapman, Ph.D. – Center for BrainHealth at the University of Texas at Dallas

Develop your ability to engage in sustained “single tasking”. Today’s distracted minds desperately need the reset.
Adam Gazzaley, M.D., Ph.D. – UC San Francisco Memory and Aging Center

Do things differently. Try opening doors with your non-dominant hand or standing on one foot while brushing your teeth. This shifting of habits creates new pathways in the brain.
Michael Gervais – Senior Manager, Equinox

Beware of retirement. When you stop learning your brain starts dying. Strive to learn something new every day.
Daniel Amen, M.D. – Amen Clinics

Use it or lose it. The next time you’re heading to the supermarket, use your memory to remember your grocery list. You’ll find that with just a bit of effort you can continue to build a better memory.
Nelson Dells – Memory Champion

If you think you are off your cognitive game you probably are. Trust your instinct and get a professional evaluation.
Roberta Brinton, Ph.D. – University of Arizona Center for Innovation in Brain Science


Honor your sleep sanctuary; make your bed. It’s a task completed and a great way to start the day. It will feel lovely when you get back into it at night.
Nancy Rothstein, MBA – The Sleep Ambassador

Get a solid seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Sleep issues, like chronic insomnia and sleep apnea, kill brain cells.
Daniel Amen, M.D. – Amen Clinics

Exercise is essential, as is sleep. Physical activity helps loosen amyloid while sleep encourages their disposal, protecting against cognitive decline. Exercise and sleep go hand in hand.
Richard Isaacson, M.D. – Director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine

Keep your smartphone and tech devices out of the bedroom. This will minimize exposure to the blue light from these devices that inhibits the release of melatonin, the sleep hormone.
Nancy Rothstein, MBA – The Sleep Ambassador


Nurture your friendships. Studies show that those with rich social networks perform better cognitively, live longer and are happier.
Marie Pasinski, M.D. – Massachusetts General Hospital

Make a new friend from a world or country that you know nothing about.
Ellen Goodman – Writer, The Conversation Project

Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D. – Center for Neural Science at New York University

Life is about stories. Little memories. Write them down. Memories are the connective tissue that make you you.
Jay Newton-Small – Founder: MemoryWell

Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Anna de Haro – iHeart Radio


If you know someone with Alzheimer’s, urge them to get into a clinical trial.
Marita Golden – Author

If you are a caregiver, confront the reality of caregiver burnout and consider respite care to help you recharge.
Lily Sarafan – Home Care Assistance

Be patient with yourself and your loved one. You are both doing your best.
Liz Hernandez – Caregiver, Access Hollywood Correspondent

If you have someone in your life with Alzheimer’s, use our Conversation Starter Kit For Families and Loved Ones of People with Alzheimer’s Disease or Other Forms of Dementia. It will save you both.
Ellen Goodman – Writer, The Conversation Project; download her kit for free:

Music can work miracles. It is deeply imbedded in our emotional DNA and can often reach a loved one when language and reasoning can’t. Try getting your loved one to take a bath or brush their teeth by chanting, singing or playing music.
Leeza Gibbons – Founder, Leeza’s Care Connection

Let go of judgment and control, and learn to be spontaneous and play again. It’s one of the greatest life lessons that
dementia teaches.
Lori Le Bay – Alzheimer’s Speaks


Stories from Our Caregiving Community

A Q&A With Author Patti Davis

A Q&A With Author Patti Davis

Patti Davis, daughter of President Ronald Reagan, spoke to WAM about her new book, Floating in the Deep End: How Caregivers Can See Beyond Alzheimer's. Davis explains the love, loss and lessons she learned while seeing her father battle Alzheimer's disease.  Read the...

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