Keep Your Brain Young and Healthy
With the rise in Alzheimer's and dementia paired with living longer lives than ever before, it is more important than ever to keep our brains young and healthy. Did you even realize that you have the power to either improve or hurt your brain? The choices we make every day affect our brains. Here are some things you can do to keep your brain young and healthy.
First, eat brain food. Omega-3 is a fatty acid that is excellent for your brain. It is so important for the developing brain that many infant and toddler foods are fortified with DHA, a form of omega-3. Many companies are adding omega-3 to processed foods, which does help, but there are real foods that are better sources of omega-3. Wild caught fish, such as salmon and tuna, are excellent sources or omega-3, as well as nuts like almonds or walnuts.
I am sure you have heard that nuts are fatty and you shouldn't eat many. Know we know that they contain good kinds of fats that our brains need, so eat up. Blueberries are another excellent food for your brain. In fact, according to the book Super Foods Rx, by Steven Pratt, MD, blueberries have actually been shown to reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's.
Your brain needs stimulation to keep it functioning at the top of its game. When we do the same things over and over again, such as taking the same route to work every day or visiting the same places each week, our brains are not stimulated and become passive. Trying new things will help our brains create new synapses and stay healthy longer. Figure out a way to try new foods, visit new places, learn something new, etc and your brain will thank you for it. I try to remember this when I am struggling to figure something out.
We live in a world where multitasking is essential. Unfortunately when we do more than one thing at a time, then we aren't able to focus completely on any one thing. I have felt for a long time that many people have completely lost the ability to really focus on something. Practicing yoga or meditation will greatly improve this aspect of brain function. Another thing you can try is to do just one thing at a time and really concentrate on it. If you are reading a book, don't have the TV on at the same time. If you are on the phone, don't go through the mail. If you are talking to your spouse or child, don't clean at the same time. Forcing yourself to focus on just one thing at a time will help your brain function better.
One of the best things you can do for your brain is to maintain a healthy body weight and get regular exercise. I feel these things go hand in hand. When we carry around extra body weight we are causing many parts of our body to be inflamed. Inflammation will prevent your brain (as well as the rest of your body) from functioning correctly. Getting regular exercise will help you stay at a healthy weight and improve your blood circulation, which will make it easier to get proper blood flow to the brain.
An easy way to keep your brain young and healthy is to protect your brain. Where a helmet when riding a bike, skiing, rock climbing, etc. I know that anyone can fall down and get a concussion just walking, but I won't let my kids play sports that have a higher risk of concussions, such as football or diving. Concussions will increase your chances of developing dementia as you age.
Most health experts tend to focus on keeping the heart healthy, but keeping your brain healthy is just as important, especially for maintaining a good quality of life as we age. Use these tips to help keep your brain young and healthy.