6 Things You Can Do To Improve Memory

Written by Grazia Aleppo, MD, FACE

1.  Follow a healthy meal plan with regularly spaced meals

There's actually no such thing as a diabetic diet. When you have diabetes, you can eat a variety of foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, non-fat dairy foods, lean meats, beans, and healthy fats (eg, olive oil).

To help you create a healthy eating plan that works best for you, work with a registered dietitian (RD) or certified diabetes educator (CDE). An RD or CDE can also teach you how to read food labels and count the amount of carbohydrates in your food—crucial information for people with diabetes.

Find out about eating well with diabetes.

2.  Enroll in an exercise routine

Exercise is one of the best things you can do to help manage type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. One of the most important benefits of exercise for diabetes is that exercise can help manage your blood glucose levels—even hours after you've stopped exercising.

Another significant benefit of exercising with diabetes is that it builds muscle. Muscles are the tissues in your body that use the most glucose, and they can help keep blood glucose levels from soaring.

Find out more about the benefits of exercise.

3. Maintain optimal glucose levels

Controlling your blood glucose levels and keeping them in your goal range is very important when you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes. Your diabetes treatment team will work with you to help you achieve your blood glucose goals, and consistent blood glucose monitoring is one of your best tools in meeting your goals.

Type 1 diabetes treatment is all focused on maintaining your goal blood glucose levels.  The various ways of taking care of your type 1 diabetes are all supposed to work together to keep your blood glucose level from going too low (hypoglycemia) or too high (hyperglycemia).

By taking insulin, paying attention to what you eat, monitoring your blood glucose levels, and exercising, you will also help prevent long-term complications from diabetes (such as diabetic neuropathy, or diabetic retinopathy, and vascular dementia).

4.  Sleep well

There is a strong association between poor sleep and chronic disease, such as diabetes. This relationship goes both ways—poor sleep may adversely affect diabetes control and vice versa. Therefore it is vitally important for people with diabetes to get enough sleep--at least 8 hours—and be well rested.

5. Keep the mind engaged, reading, crossword puzzles, take classes

Research has shown keeping your mind engaged can actually reduce cognitive decline. Taking a break to read, do the crossword, listen to music, eases your mind, reduces stress, and gives you an opportunity to shift the focus onto your own self-care. Engaging in activities that you enjoy, like  doodling on a piece of scrap paper, or maybe even playing a quick video game, can improve memory (or at least keep at bay the normal aging process).

6. Decrease stress

Stress affects people with diabetes, both those type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes.  And managing stress isn't as easy as just telling yourself to relax and get through your to-do list.  When you have diabetes, stress can affect your blood glucose level, so managing stress when you have diabetes is just another way to work on managing your blood glucose level.

Find out how to manage your stress.