A recent interesting report from the Alliance for Aging Research encourages all of us to keep our brains healthy. It’s important as you age, but also important at any age.
At this time of the year, when people make all kind of resolutions, one of the most frequent is to improve our state of health in one way or another.
This can also include keeping our brain’s healthy. Here is a list of actions you can take, and make part of your life to assure your brain stays in the best of shape.
Step 1 - Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet.
What is a brain-healthy diet?
It is one that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids (commonly found in fish, specially fed chicken (via their eggs) some fruits and vegetables), essential amounts of proteins only, plentiful antioxidants (found in a host of natural foods) lots of fruits and vegetables, foods rich in vitamin B (such as lentils); minimum amounts or no trans fats; and fiber-rich non-processed carbohydrates.
Step 2 - Stay Mentally Active
Every year resolve to learn something new. Let it be a language, a skill, some dance, something new each year. Keep your mind active.
Stay away from TV as much as you can, and replace it with the computer.
Take classes in something, and read as much as you can. The brain needs this stimuli to maintain its cognitive levels.
Step 3 - Exercise Regularly
Nothing is as important for the body and brain as regular exercise.
Regular exercise always increases circulation, improves one coordination, and helps prevent conditions that increase the risk of dementia such as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.
Step 4 – Remain Socially Active
Do not remain a recluse. Be with your friends, become a volunteer and work with people, take regular outings to new places, and new countries. Let your eyes see new sights, your ears new sounds, taste new foods.
Step 5 – Sleep Well
The healthy brain needs for your body to sleep and rest. When you are deprived of enough sleep, the brain suffers.
Step 6 – Stress Management
Simple stress is often healthful, but long protracted stress puts the brain (and body via the immune system) at increased risk.
There are wonderful ways to manage your stress, such as yoga, enjoyable hobbies, regular journeys to spas, healthful massage, and a host of other options. Use them, and let the stress pass away from you.
Step 7 – Safety
Don’t take chances. The damage an injury to the head cannot be under-estimated, especially triggering the onset of dementia.
Step 8 – Watch Your General Health
Keep a healthy weight, control high-blood pressure, hypertension, and guard against diabetes. Each of these can negatively affect your cognitive state.
Step 9 – Avoid Unhealthful Habits
If you smoke, stop now.
If you over drink stop, and limit yourself of moderate amounts of wine, and an occasional drink.
Illegal drugs of any kind will negatively affect your cognitive state, and surely hasten the onset of dementia.
Step 10 – Genetic Disposition
If there is any history of dementia, or other cognitive diseases in your family, you can take steps before it become too late. The previous 9 steps are a good start, and consultation with your doctor can be the start of protecting your brain’s health
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