As we know, the brain plays a vital role in the body as it controls or has a role in basically every physiological process. If our brains begin to fail, it affects our whole body. Though aging is an inevitable process, this does not mean that you have to experience cognitive decline or any real loss of brain power.
This because, fortunately, there are lifestyle factors which could enable one to delay brain aging. These can also help reverse the risks that come with aging such as memory loss, stroke or mild cognitive impairment. How then can you keep your brain healthy even as you get older? Below are 5 tips for keeping your brain healthy as you get older.
Good nutrition can have a profound effect on cognitive health. Take more vegetables instead of red meat and other animal products. This is because red meat contains a large amount of minerals such copper and iron which may harm the brain if consumed in excess, and also because foods high in vitamin E (i.e. veggies), and a ‘Mediterranean diet’, can have a massively positive impact on your brain, and can perhaps help to prevent dementia.
Jane Byrne at FirstCare.ie, who advocates eating more healthily, points out that there are many types of dementia, each with their own causes and symptoms.
“However, there are similarities across the board, which we need to combat. Dementia is so widespread nowadays that all healthcare professionals really have to stand up and take notice. Prevention is key, including changes to diet and lifestyle factors.”
As well as this, avoid a high intake of salt, as this can contribute to plaque forming in the arteries, high blood pressure and possibly vascular dementia later in life, according to the Alzheimer’s Society.
Another strategy to improve your brain health is to get more active by taking part in exercise, which can help to improve the health of the the brain. Much research, including clinical studies by the National Institute of Health, have provided strong evidence that getting exercise can reduce your risk of contracting dementia, and can slow the progress of the disease if you do suffer from it.
Evidence has shown that exercise will contribute to lowering the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease, reduce cholesterol, and also reduce blood pressure and psychological stress.
Reduce alcohol and avoid tobacco
This is important when it comes to lowering the risk of developing alzheimer’s and dementia. If you drink alcohol, you should avoid excessive consumption. Tobacco also affects brain health, and should be avoided if you want to reduce the effects of aging on your brain. The medical consensus is that alcohol, except in moderation, should be avoided, and that smoking can actually double the risk of alzheimer’s.
Engage your mind
If you are yet to take up a hobby that keeps your mind active, then consider playing games that stretch your intellectual faculties, and actually make you think. Challenging your mind with activities like playing chess, jigsaw puzzles or card games will help improve your mental capacity, and keep your mind sharp.
Learning something new like a foreign language, a new dance move or playing a music instrument will also assist in boosting the plasticity of your brain.
Get enough sleep
Most people do not realize how important sleep is when it comes to boosting brain health. If you stay up late and wake up very early, you need to reconsider how this will weaken your immune system.
For the brain to function properly, it needs to be energized well and this can only happen when you get enough rest. It is therefore important to avoid too much stress or anything that may affect your sleep. However, do not get too much sleep, as research also shows that those who sleep more than 9 hours are at a greater risk of getting dementia.
The above tips help us realize how lifestyle significantly affects our general well-being, especially our cognitive health. Therefore, try and ensure that you maintain a healthy diet, that you don’t drink to excess, and that your sleep habits are healthy.
You can do further research to get more tips on brain health and aging by checking the sources I have listed below.
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