People of every age want to know the steps to take to keep their brains in optimal condition. After all, brain health is usually a sign we are fit from head to toe, inside and out. Lack of activity, poor nutrition, inadequate sleep, stress and other factors all affect our brain health. This means one of the first things you can do to prevent brain degeneration or the onset of conditions like Alzheimer's is to consider your lifestyle.
Brain Power Begins with Lifestyle
What is lifestyle? It involves your diet, exercise routine, brain activity, socialization, spirituality and any supplements you’re taking. Each of these things is imperative to long-term brain health. So, let's look at them one by one:
We all know nutrition is a very significant factor in brain health. After all, so many things we eat we might refer to as "brain food." The basic rule of thumb for optimal brain health through a good diet is to make sure you eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables each day, eat food sources of antioxidants and omega-3s (that includes wild salmon, cold water oily fish, seeds, nuts and leafy greens), keep a healthy weight and cut down on sodium and cholesterol. Sip a little green tea here and there. If you tend to consume a fair amount of carbohydrates in your diet, make sure they’re complex carbs (i.e. not sugar) with a low glycemic index. As a simple guide, the Mediterranean Diet is all about eating foods with anti-inflammatory with great antioxidant potential.
If you could get every brain-enhancing nutrient from your diet, that would be ideal. The problem is most of us don’t have an ideal diet. The most recommended supplements which help support brain health are vitamins E, B6, B12 and folate, omega-3s, coenzyme Q10, Ginkgo biloba, ginseng and phosphatidylserine. Especially if memory lapses are already a problem, herbals that have been shown to be supportive include huperzine A and vinpocetine.
Any sort of physical activity is good for the body because it improves circulation. This brings oxygen and nutrients into the brain and keeps you healthy much longer. Remember, too, a boost in the circulation also triggers the body to make new brain cells, and this is a major factor in the battle against degenerative issues. But before you jump into a routine that may be more aggressive than you’re used to, you must first know your limits. Discuss any major changes with your health care provider so you can scale up safely.
4. Brain Activity:
We've all heard the phrase, "use it or lose it," and that applies quite factually with brain activity. All kinds of research has been done about the benefits of mental stimulation and the results are all the same. When we challenge our minds, we actually ask it to reorganize and remain flexible. This means physical activity has to be partnered with mental activity on a regular basis. This can be done with games, puzzles and by doing complex tasks that are mostly mental, such as long mathematical equations, etc.
Just as we need to work our minds to keep them limber, we also need to maintain social bonds to keep the brain in good condition, too. Just consider what socialization demands -- we must communicate, think, emote and remember facts when we socialize. All of these things can stave off degeneration. So, get our there, make new friends and socialize!
This can be but isn’t necessarily related to religion. It does have to do with another sort of brain exercise -- inner reflection. Spirituality and reflection-related physical exercise like yoga are great ways to reduce stress, clear the thoughts and experience a rush of pleasure hormones.
As you can see, just some simple lifestyle changes can really help you combat degeneration and brain diseases. Don’t let your brain get out of shape as memory loss can sneak up on you. An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure in this case. If you’re already experiencing troublesome memory lapses that interfere with life, please get evaluated by a doctor. There may be significant medical conditions you need to urgently take care of.
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