25 Oct A Brain Health Action Plan
Your brain is the core organ of your nervous system. Most of your body’s activities are controlled by the brain, which processes, integrates, and coordinates information received from your sense organs and then decides the instructions it will send to your body.
Your skull bones house and protect your brain; however, this does not mean that it is safe. Often overlooked, the brain needs care and maintenance just like the rest of your body. Mental decline is common as a person ages. Maintaining your brain health prevents and reverses memory loss, allowing you to stay sharp for as long as possible.
Here are the most significant actions you can take now to maintain a healthy brain.
Use Your Brain
Keep your brain active by engaging in challenging activities. Surfing the web, flipping through television channels, or scrolling through Twitter and Facebook don’t qualify as engaging or challenging. These non-stimulating activities leave you and your brain feeling drained.
Instead, embrace learning. Similar to how exercising improves your health and strengthens your muscles, stimulating your brain challenges the brain capacity, improving it and keeping it healthy. This can include learning a new language, skill, or game, or even learning on the job. Continued curiosity is the foundation for an agile brain.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A balanced diet keeps your body in the top condition and benefits your brain, too. The brain requires vitamins and minerals to function faster. This can be achieved by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables and taking a nutraceutical supplement. Through smart food choices, you can prevent or reverse problems like high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, which contribute to memory loss and mental decline.
Among the most important nutrients for your brain health is vitamin D. Research shows that consuming low levels of vitamin D leads to trouble focusing and forgetfulness. A Mediterranean style diet, which includes nuts, fish, vegetables, fruits, protein from plants, and unsaturated oils helps prevent the development of dementia and cognitive impairment.
As human beings, we are a social species and need each other for survival. Social tasks stimulate the brain in much the same way doing crosswords and reading do. Socializing develops connections between dispersed nerve cells in the brain.
According to research, lonely individuals are two times likelier to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While socializing is not something that comes easy to all people, it is important in maintaining a healthy brain. Communicating with others and having an encouraging social network creates a feeling of wellbeing and safeguards against depression and isolation. It also boosts memory and cognitive skills. In fact, research shows that having a strong network of friends helps you live longer.
Know Your Meds
People with high blood pressure, allergies, or depression take prescription drugs. Some of these could affect your clear thinking. If you’re feeling forgetful or groggy upon starting a new prescription, inform your doctor. Research shows that low-dose aspirin minimizes the risk of developing vascular dementia.
Get Sufficient Rest
While sleeping, the body relaxes and regenerates for tomorrow. Besides, sufficient sleep keeps your mind calm, your memory powerful, and your brain sharp. Research shows that sleep can almost double your chances to remember things because it boosts the hippocampus, a part of the brain tasked with memory recall.
Ditch Unhealthy Behaviors
Smoking and abusing alcohol are harmful to brain health and increase the risk of dementia. Smokers are almost three times as likely to develop dementia compared to nonsmokers. Alcohol users are advised to have no more than two drinks a day to avoid increasing their risk of dementia.
Keeping your brain nourished, stimulated, and well rested will go a long way in maintaining its health.
Dr. Sue Reddy understands what is required to live a healthy, active life. If you’re interested in taking a proactive approach to maintaining your brain health, give Dr. Reddy a call today. Her staff would be more than happy to set up an appointment and answer any questions you may have.