We often come across ways to keep the lungs and heart healthy, but rarely do we find ways to keep the brain in good condition, especially as we age. Whether it’s thinking on your feet, remembering things, or problem-solving, everyone wants their brain to be functioning to the best of its ability.
According to comprehensive studies, making simple lifestyle changes can help keep the brain in ideal condition and reduce the risk of developing conditions like dementia and Alzheimers.
That being said, here are some expert tips to keep your brain in tip-top shape:
- Exercise on a Regular Basis
Staying physically active has a positive effect on ensuring successful aging. Working out on a regular basis not only reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases but may also help reduce the course of an existing condition like Alzheimer’s.
Staying active can boost your energy levels, sleep, sense of well-being, and of course, brain health. Engaging in daily exercise also minimizes the risk of anxiety and depression. Knowing why you do not work out will allow you to systemically get rid of the barriers, and gradually change your attitude and behavior towards a healthy lifestyle.
- Pay Attention to Your Mood
When feeling depressed or anxious, chances are you will be distracted by your own feelings and thoughts, making it difficult to pay attention to things that you need to remember. Also, chronic depression has been linked to the development of dementia, and so, it is imperative to seek professional help if you find yourself or a loved one feeling this way.
- Get Adequate Sleep
Poor sleep will not only affect your mood and ability to focus or concentrate during the day, but it can also interfere with how your brain stores memories during the night. The disorder known as sleep apnea can also have a negative impact on brain health, reducing the amount of oxygen that makes its way to the brain.
- Stay Connected
Ensuring you’re socially connected with others, be it friends, colleagues or loved ones has been shown to reduce the risk of developing conditions like dementia. As you grow older, staying engaged and involved in activities you enjoy is good for you in a multitude of ways, including keeping your brain healthy.
- Manage or Alleviate Stress
Stress, and the associated hormone known as cortisol, over time, can lead to an inflammatory response that results in the formation of free radicals that may affect normal brain functions. As such, it is wise to develop tools that will help you get through stressful moments such as yoga, reading, or breathing exercises.
- Quit Smoking and Drinking Alcohol
Mood-altering substances like cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol can reduce your functioning, lower your motivation and even impair some cognitive processes. They affect your emotions, which impairs thinking by reducing attention, memory, focus, as well as ability to execute plans.
Also, smoking cigarettes is one of the primary causes of different types of cancers including oral, lung, liver, and stomach cancer. Not to forget that it stains the teeth, fingers, and hair, and leaves you with a foul-smelling breath.
- Play Brain Games
Learning new things is advantageous in that it prompts your brain to create new cells or neurons. This is particularly important in retirement when you need to stay engaged in one way or the other. Ways to keep the brain engaged include learning a new skill or language, taking up a new hobby, or engaging in puzzles or video games.
New relationships, social interaction as well stimulating conversations are all integral to the health of your brain as well. The social aspect of what occurs when individuals feel heard and as if they are a part of others’ lives is crucial to both the brain and overall health.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet that is rich in legumes, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, and fruits is vital to the overall health of the body. Extensive studies have shown that consuming foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and B vitamins support brain health which results in better cognitive functioning. Also, include more leafy greens, berries, walnuts, coffee, tea, and fatty fish like sardines and salmon in your diet.