Taking care of yourself can benefit your brain.
Aging is not kind to bodies.
Joints wear out.
Brains lose functioning.
There is a reason we celebrate those “single digit” birthdays.
According to a recent AARP article titled “7 Things to Do After 50 for a Healthier Brain,” it is not unusual for seniors to develop Alzheimer’s and Dementia.
Although cures and effective treatments have been difficult to find, certain behaviors can prevent or delay the development of these diseases.
What are these actions you can take to protect your brain?
Manage your blood pressure.
Your heart health impacts the health of your brain.
Blood pressure is impacted by genetics and lifestyle factors.
Although you cannot change your genetics, you can manage your blood pressure through exercise, diet, and medication.
As previously mentioned, exercise can benefit your blood pressure.
It can also benefit your brain specifically because certain exercises (think running) generate the creation of a particular protein.
This protein is called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
What does BDNF do?
It encourages the growth, connection, and maintenance of neurons.
These neurons send and receive signals from the brain.
Eat a heart-healthy diet.
Did you know eating food that promotes normal insulin activity and monitors cholesterol can minimize the risk of developing dementia?
Yep, it can.
Healthy insulin activity and cholesterol management can both decrease the risk of developing dementia.
Consequently, the Mediterranean diet is often recommend.
Another option is the MIND diet.
This diet combines the American Heart Association DASH diet and the Mediterranean diet.
If you follow these nutrition plans, you will be consuming generously of nuts, fish, vegetables, olive oil, and berries.
Watch your weight.
Obesity is a risk factor for many illnesses and diseases.
Not surprisingly, obesity has been connected to the development of dementia.
Excess body weight and belly fat, smoking, poor sleep, and not exercising will hinder insulin function.
When the happens a person can develop insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance often leads to type 2 diabetes.
Those with type 2 diabetes have a 60 percent greater likelihood of developing dementia.
Losing weight can prevent the development of insulin resistance.
Learn new things.
Your brain requires exercise.
Sudokus and crossword puzzles work out your mind, if they are challenging.
Learn a foreign language.
That will get your synapses firing!
Get good sleep.
Poor and shortened sleep can actually damage in the brain.
This is especially problematic in midlife.
Why is poor sleep a problem?
The neurons produce beta amyloid and tau when this occurs.
High numbers of these proteins are connected to Alzheimer’s disease.
What can cause poor sleep?
Obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, and poor muscle tone are connected to lack of rest.
Losing weight and exercising can help you achieve better sleep.
Manage your stress.
Stress is not only an emotional experience.
Your body can be in a state of stress.
The strain in your body is connected to other risk factors for Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
These include rising blood sugar, high blood pressure, disrupted sleep, and abdominal obesity.
Although genetics certainly plays a role in brain health, you can decrease your risk for developing dementia by following these steps.
Reference: AARP (May 18, 2021) “7 Things to Do After 50 for a Healthier Brain”