Our brain works nonstop every day. It operates simultaneously with everything we do, from expressing thoughts and emotions, coordinating body movements, recalling memories, and much more. That said, since its functions come naturally to us, we sometimes take our brain health for granted.
But remember, the brain changes with age, and it’s normal for our mental function to decrease along with it. For most cases, cognitive decline is a matter that requires professional assistance, with seniors being the most at-risk. That’s why assisted living for Alzheimer’s patients is important, as it provides specialized care and support.
Fortunately, there are some proven ways to keep your brain healthy. These are things you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle to maintain your brain function at an optimum. Take a look below:
1. Build an Active Lifestyle
We have long been bombarded by studies on the benefits of exercise for our health—including brain health.
Building an active lifestyle can go a long way toward helping your neurological health. How so?
Exercise streamlines the development of neurons or new brain cells. It also boosts the synapse or the connections between brain cells. Furthermore, keeping active helps lower blood pressure, prevent stroke, balance blood sugar, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce mental stress. All these are highly beneficial to both brain and heart health.
What’s even greater about exercise is that its benefits build up no matter what age. That’s why it’s often a standard program for assisted living for Alzheimer’s patients.
You can start by incorporating at least 150 minutes of aerobic exercise into your weekly schedule. It doesn’t need to be complicated exercises—go for a moderate activity you can enjoy!
2. Take Care of Your Overall Health
It’s crucial to note that conditions like hypertension, heart disease, and diabetes can damage brain health. Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the risks of developing these conditions.
The most critical factors to pay attention to include diet, exercise, lifestyle, and weight control. Did you know that one of the major risk factors for developing dementia is excessive drinking? Knowing this, it would be best to limit your alcohol consumption. It would also be beneficial to avoid tobacco in all its forms.
If you’re taking medications, make sure to always consult your doctor about your intake and the specific medicine suited for you.
3. Mentally Stimulate Your Brain
Research has found that mentally stimulating activities can form new connections between nerve cells and help generate new cells. What this does is build up a functional reserve that can help combat future cell loss. The latest research also shows that a cognitively active brain can help slow down mental decline in old age.
So if you want to stay sharp, it’s crucial to keep stimulating your brain—and there are endless activities for this. Some of these are reading, solving puzzles or crossword problems, drawing, painting, attending lectures, cooking, playing games, memory exercises, and so much more.
4. Develop a Healthy Diet
Of course, we can’t forget about nutrition! A healthy diet is beneficial not only for your body but also for your mind. The simple act of switching to a healthier diet can help prevent cognitive impairment and dementia risk.
Aim for a diet incorporating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, omega-3 fatty acids, and polyunsaturated fats. On the other hand, try to reduce the consumption of frozen meals and fast food that have very high sodium content.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is something so important yet an often neglected part of how we go about our days. Inadequate sleep and sleep disorders have been found to cause problems with memory and mental function. Two of the most common sleep issues are stress and sleep apnea.
The act of sleeping helps boost brain neurons and synapses and plays a crucial role in memory building. Think back to what you’ve constantly been taught as a child—get 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. It helps give the brain the “off” time to consolidate and store memories more efficiently.
If you’re struggling with existing sleep problems, it’s best to talk to a professional to know how to address them.
6. Regularly Socialize
It’s common knowledge that humans are social beings. Even if you’re an introvert, you’d still need social interaction to survive and enrich your life. We constantly learn and experience something new through our interactions with other people that help keep our brains active. When you’re socializing, different parts of the brain work as you listen and formulate responses.
Moreover, a study shows that having an active social life can help prevent the risk of developing dementia. Social interactions are also a crucial aspect of assisted living for Alzheimer’s patients to manage symptoms of the disease. It’s because regular social interactions help aid the connections between the brain’s neurons.
Healthy socialization can also help prevent the risk of developing depression, which hampers brain health. When you’re depressed, you become very occupied with negative thoughts that hinder you from absorbing and learning new things.
You can start improving your social life through regularly connecting with friends, volunteering, and joining clubs.
7. Practice Mindfulness
Practicing mindfulness offers a myriad of benefits to your brain health. For example, regular meditation and mindfulness practice can help address stress and anxiety that can take a toll on your mind. It also aids the quality of sleep that allows the brain to build neurons and process memory. Along with this, it improves blood and oxygen circulation that is crucial for ensuring optimum brain function.
Specifically for memory, mindfulness meditation can help your brain retain more information in the long run. It also increases attention span as you train your brain to undergo relaxation and focus on the present.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are common conditions that many seniors acquire as they grow old. But experiencing rapid mental decline as we age is preventable.
Overall, developing a healthy lifestyle and improving both physical and mental health can help keep your brain healthy. Applying a few profound lifestyle changes can help you improve your brain health and improve your cognitive function moving forward. And there is no better time to start than right now.