How many times have you misplaced your keys or walked into a room and suddenly forgot what you went in there for? Soon after, did you make a “senior moment” joke? The truth is, an aging brain is no joke. Mental decline is very common in people over 60 and its one of the things people fear the most about aging. But cognitive impairment -AKA memory loss – is not inevitable. In fact, lifestyle choices have much to do with how our bodies, including our brains, will age.
Here are 5 ways you can keep your brain young:
1. Stay Mentally Active
When we’re young, our minds are highly active. Think about how much we learn just in our toddler and adolescent years! That learning continues into high school and college, and even when we set out into the real world to begin our careers.
But as we age and become bored and complacent in our personal and work lives, we stop learning; stop being engaged with the world around us. And, though the brain isn’t a muscle per se, the old adage “use it or lose it” certainly fits.
It’s important to keep our brains active. Research with mice and humans has found that mental activity is what builds new connections between nerve cells, and generates new cells themselves. Learning, and even mindful meditation, bring about positive changes to our gray matter and keep our brains working optimally into old age.
So, keep that brain active and engaged. Read, take classes, do the crossword puzzle or any other number of things that will cause you to never stop learning.
Exercise becomes even more important to our health as we age. Not only will aerobic and strength training lower our risk of developing arthritis and osteoporosis, but science has also found that exercise helps keep our brains healthy.
When we exercise, our bodies build new blood vessels, and these blood vessels bring oxygen-rich blood to the regions of the brain responsible for thought. Exercise also supports the development of new nerve cells and connections between them. When you factor in that exercise lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, and helps strengthen your heart, you realize there really are no excuses – just get your body moving!
3. Clean Up Your Diet
Are you noticing a pattern? The very things that are good for our bodies below the next are good for them above the neck as well. Good nutrition is vitally important at any age, especially in our Golden years.
It’s important to cut out processed foods, which contain trans fats and high levels of sugar, and instead reach for wholesome, nutritious foods, especially fruits and vegetables. Dark leafy vegetables like spinach and kale are rich in necessary B vitamins, which can lower your homocysteine levels. These chemicals have been linked to dementia. Also, including cold water fish like salmon and mackerel in your diet two to three times a week will give you your necessary omega-3s, which have been shown to keep our brains healthy.
[Editor’s note: Admittedly, not everyone loves the taste of fish. If that’s your case, we suggest taking a highly-potent and pure omega-3 supplement instead. Here’s the one we recommend, and you can get a FREE bottle on us!]
4. Improve Your Blood Pressure
High blood pressure increases the risk of mental decline in old age. You can decrease your blood pressure by making important lifestyle changes we’ve already discussed, namely exercising and cutting out processed foods (which are high in sodium) from your diet.
Another big factor that can reduce blood pressure – reducing the stress in our lives or at least, reducing the effect that stress has on our body. While you may not be able to wave a magic wand and have your mortgage paid off or make your boss nicer to you, there is a simple and natural way to eliminate the effects of stress on your body and reduce your blood pressure permanently. Oh, and it only takes 10-15 minutes a day to do and is incredible fun. Curious? Find out about Sonic Wave Relaxation Therapy.
5. Improve Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes is an important risk factor for dementia. Along with exercise and eating cleanly (AKA foods that are not high in high fructose corn syrup and other simple carbohydrates), you need to get control of the inflammation in your body. It is inflammation that causes diabetes and other choric diseases.
What is the number one culprit of inflammation? Poor gut health. Our gut is a complex system of bacteria – trillions of bacteria. Through poor diets, stress, and prescription medications like antibiotics, the good bacteria in our guts are wiped out, letting the bad bacteria flourish.
To really get to the root cause of disease you’ve got to improve the health of your gut. While this might seem like a huge undertaking, developing a healthy gut is easier than you may think. Find out how one doctor improved his gut health and cured himself of his own chronic disease, and how you can do it too, in just three simple steps. It’s easier than you think – Click Here to find out more!
As we age, quality of life becomes even more important. Without optimal brain health, there simply is no real quality of life. Follow these five strategies to ensure you keep your brain young for years to come.