We all depend on our brains daily, and the last thing we would want or need would be to see them slowing down. Reducing Dementia or Alzheimer’s risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, smoking and low physical activity by just 25 percent could prevent up to half a million cases of the disease in the United States. Our brains are powerful, and highly valuable! Age proof your brain by following these steps:
We can’t stress enough how important exercise is, not just for your heart, but also for your brain. Higher exercise levels can actually reduce dementia risk by 30 to 40 percent compared with low activity levels. Physically active people tend to maintain better cognition and memory than inactive people. Working out helps your hippocampus, the region of the brain involved in memory formation. As you age, your hippocampus shrinks, leading to memory loss. Research suggests that exercise can reverse this process.
Play some games
Learning spurs the growth of new brain cells. When the brain is challenged you increase the number of brain cells and the number of connections between those cells. It’s not enough to do the things you routinely do — like the daily crossword. It’s important, and FUN to learn new things, like sudoku or a new challenging game. Puzzles and memory aiding games are great options.
Eat foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as fatty fish like salmon, vegetables, avocados, blueberries, olive oil, nuts and beans, freshly brewed dark tea, and dark chocolate all reduce Alzheimer’s risk. Don’t be afraid to spice things up. Your brain enjoys spices as much as your taste buds do. Herbs and spices such as black pepper, cinnamon, oregano, basil, parsley, ginger and vanilla are high in antioxidants, which may help build brainpower. Curcumin – the active ingredient in tumeric which is found in asian and Indian foods can be particularly helpful.
Be aware of the nutrients you are and are not absorbing and find ways to incorporate them into your diet. Vitamin deficits — particularly vitamin B12 — can also affect brain vitality. Now that’s food for thought! A great way to add essential nutrients and vitamins is by incorporating freshly squeezed juices into your diet.
Make some friends!
We humans are social creatures, we don’t typically thrive in isolation, and neither do our brains. There are a ton of ways to stay connected to your environment. Volunteer, get to know your neighbors, get out to parks, museums, the movies, or take group classes – think painting or a fitness class! Get out there and be more social for a happier, healthier brain.
Please consult with your chiropractor or primary care physician before embarking on any new changes in diet, treatments or forms of exercise.
Image credit: Psychokinesis in orange by Aurimus. Used under a Creative commons license.
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