Just existing takes a lot of brain power. Managing stress, socializing, getting enough sleep and exercise a healthy diet – the list goes on. While it might be a long list, each of those areas is crucial to a healthy brain. So how does one maintain brain health? Here are seven components of life that can help you maintain brain health, even as you grow older
Frequent exercise has shown effectiveness in reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Not only has exercise proven itself beneficial to the body, but it’s also great for your mind. Overall brain health, memory and general blood flow are all byproducts of physical activity. Exercise also promotes changes in brain chemistry that lead to a boost in thinking and mood. If you found out that exercise could prolong your life, would you work out more? Well, it’s true – exercise reduces the risk of heart disease, maximizes sleep, helps you lose weight and improves your mood. The close link between mind and body means that exercise is good for both.
2. Mental health
Mental health issues like anxiety and depression can’t always be avoided. However, there are many ways you can play an active role in reducing your risk for developing mental health problems. So how can you help your mental health?
• Reduce your exposure to chronic stress
• learn healthy coping skills for dealing with emotion swings and life’s problems
• Maintain healthy relationships with people in your life. In the area, you might have more control than you think
You are what you eat. We’ve all heard that old adage. While no one wants to be a walking piece of broccoli, you should appreciate that your diet plays a major role in the maintenance of a healthy brain. Oxidation is a harmful process that increases with age. Food rich in antioxidant combat oxidation, reducing the overall harm and preserving your mind. Mediterranean diets high in nuts, olives, leafy green vegetables, whole grains and fish pack plenty of antioxidants. Try it out!
4. Exercise is the best medicine
A lifestyle that’s good for your brain starts with understanding and controlling medical risks. Smoking, high cholesterol, head trauma, depression, obesity and diabetes all increase a person’s risk for developing dementia. Go to your doctor regularly. Many insurance providers cover one physical each year. Be sure to listen to come to your appointment with questions about your health and make sure you listen carefully and follow the advice of the doctor. Yes, this means taking the medication they may prescribe. Your brain is happier when you take care of your health. Overweight people have an increased risk of developing diabetes, which can lead to early onset dementia. For starters, focus on balance exercises, strength training and aerobic exercises.
5. Relaxation and sleep
Sleep has many benefits. Apart from fun dreams and fluffy pillows, sleep improves your immune system, enhances your mood, restarts the brain and can increase your overall energy. Sleep may also decrease the development of beta-amyloid plaque, which is linked to Alzheimer’s dementia. Anyone who has forced themselves to stay awake for an extended period of time would or slept poorly would agree – no sleep can wreak havoc on your state of mind. Mental functioning, focus and concentration all thrive after a good night’s rest. Those dealing with insomnia should try meditation to manage stress levels, which may also help to decrease the age-related loss of brain health. There are few things better for your brain that getting the rest you need.
6. Brain training
Just like your muscles, brain health is dependent upon you pushing your brain to its maximum ability. Brains that are under stimulated suffer much like muscles that go unused. If you spend hours and hours in front of the television- we are talking to you. We talked earlier about the benefits of working out your body. Well, working out your brain is just as important. mental exercise promotes brain cell growth and can fight off the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Your “brain reserve” helps the brain respond and adapt to mental changes and reduces the risk of sustained damage. A person’s brain reserve starts developing in adolescence and only grows in strength as you age. Persistent folks that develop new skills and interests, people that engage in interesting topics and concepts and try new things overall will maximize this valuable brain reserve.
7. Get social
Don’t write-off the benefits of being social. Those that engage in healthy relationships and socialize have better brain health. Try to start conversations with others, stop by for a coffee and keep in touch with those you love. People that you enjoy spending time with are more than just friends and family. They are actually the key to a healthy brain!