June is “Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Month”. Most of us are aware that Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurological disorder that causes the brain to shrink(atrophy), and brain cells to die. It is the most common cause of dementia. This article will focus on brain health.
Lifestyle has a profound impact on your brain health. What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, how well you sleep, the way you socialize, and how you manage stress are all critically important to your brain health. Cleveland Clinic’s“Six Pillars of Brain Health” will help you navigate your journey to brain health.
Get moving! People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise improves blood flow and memory and stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood, and thinking.
Food and Nutrition:
You are what you eat. The aging brain is exposed to more harmful stress due to environment and lifestyle, resulting in “oxidation”, which damages brain cells. Food rich in antioxidants can help fend off the harmful effects of oxidation in your brain.
Control medical risks. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. You can control these risks. Get annual checkups and take medications as prescribed.
Sleep and Relaxation:
Rest well. Sleep energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system, and may reduce buildup in the brain of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid plaque, which is associated with Alzheimers disease. Stay positive. Be happy.
Mental exercise is as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain healthy.
Like your muscles, you must use your brain, or you will lose it.
Reading, doing puzzles, and memorizing keep your brain active. An article fromJohn Hopkins Medicine cites that if you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool, and provides a total brain workout.
Stay connected. Leading an active social life can protect you against memory loss. Spending time with others, engaging in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch with family and friends are good for your brain health. If it is difficult to get out, make phone calls and write emails or letters. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline.