(Natural News) Each and every part of our body is susceptible to the ravages of time, and our brain is no exception. The brain undergoes various ages as we get on in years. Mental decline is just one of them. Yet despite this being a common and terrifying aspect of aging, it isn’t inevitable. There are numerous habits you can develop to keep your brain in tip-top shape. Here are 10 of them: (h/to to LifeZette.com.)
- Watch your diet — When it comes to eating, quality trumps quantity. Limit your consumption of foods rich in saturated and trans fats from animal sources and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils, respectively. Up your intake of fortified cereals, quality grains, and leafy green vegetables. All of these foods are dense with B-complex vitamins — particularly vitamins B6, B12, and folic acid. These three B-complex vitamins can lower homocysteine levels, which in turn decreases the risk of dementia.
- Stay active — Getting your heart pumping and your muscles moving does your body and your mind good. According to Health.Harvard.edu, regular exercise boosts the connections between synapses and promotes the development of new nerve cells. This in turn makes the brain more efficient and adaptive. Moreover, regular exercise increases the number of blood vessels that carry blood to the region of the brain associated with thought.
- Measure your blood pressure — Did you know that your blood pressure can affect your mental health? People who have high blood pressure in midlife are at greater risk of cognitive decline as they age. If you’re one of those people, there are many steps you can take to lower your blood pressure, such as reducing stress and exercising regularly. (Related: Diabetes and high blood pressure dramatically increase risk of brain damage and cognitive decline.)
- Sleep more — Lack of sleep can impair your brain’s functions and limit your ability to think and remember properly. Seven to eight hours sleep every night prevents this from happening. Ensure that you get those seven to eight hours of sleep by reducing your caffeine intake late in the day, optimizing your bedroom environment for sleep, and avoiding long daytime naps.
- Stay social — Make it a point to frequently engage in social activities with loved ones and with friends. Having and maintaining a rich social network reduces stress and provides intellectual stimulation, both of which are integral to slow down the rate of memory decline.
- Limit your alcohol — While excessive drinking greatly increases your risk of dementia, low doses of alcohol have actually been linked to the decreased chance of dementia among older adults. Two drinks a day should be your ceiling, and no more than that.
- Challenge your brain — Mentally-stimulating activities promote new connections between nerves and can even prompt the brain to create new ones. These activities can range from reading books to solving math problems to working on puzzles. Drawing, painting, and other hobbies that make use of your manual dexterity are also apt for this.
- Stay balanced — The older you get, the greater your likelihood of losing your balance and sustaining a fall-related head injury. To get around this, practice balancing and strengthening exercises on a regular basis. In addition to keeping your balance, these kinds of exercises bring the added bonuses of improving your coordination and stabilizing your joints.
- Keep track of your medication — What medicines may have worked for you in the past may trigger dangerous side effects in the future. These side effects can include changes to your cognitive function. Mind your medication and talk to a health professional about all your medications to ensure that you’re not taking anything that could be doing you more harm than good.
- Speak your doctor — If you have any concerns or questions about what aging does to your brain, your doctor will usually have the answers you need. Whether your questions are on short-term memory loss or just brain function and age in general, be sure to air them out on your next appointment.
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Though these tips are meant to keep your brain healthy as you age, it certain couldn’t hurt to make them habits as early as now. You can never be too careful with your brain. Start as soon as possible, if you can. Your brain and the rest of your body will definitely thank you for it several years down the line.
Visit MindBodyScience.news to read up on more advice about how to keep your brain healthy at any age.