According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), many people experience decreased blood flow, slowed neuron communication, increased inflammation, and reduced mass in certain brain parts. These changes in the brain can affect mental function, even in healthy older people.
Most experts state that if you do just one thing for your brain's health, you should make time for regular exercise. The benefits of regular physical activity are so numerous, especially for brain health, that in a sense, exercise is the closest thing we have to a miracle drug.
Studies have shown that deep breathing exercises can psychologically and physiologically affect the brain. Taking mindful breaths by simply bringing your attention to your breathing and taking a moment to appreciate life can initiate a positive cascade of events in our mind and body. This simple practice can unlock the power of meditation and help curb stress while creating a relaxation response in the body, slowing heart rate, relaxing blood vessels to lower blood pressure, boosting immune factors, lowering blood sugar, improving mood, and more.
Besides staying physically active, eating a healthy diet can help your brain stay healthy. What we eat plays a critical role in determining our health and well-being and when it comes to maintaining brain health. Eating plenty of plant-based foods, such as green leafy vegetables, berries, and other foods rich in 'phytonutrients,' the chemicals plants produce to keep themselves healthy, can be neuroprotective and reduce Alzheimer’s risk.
Maintaining social ties is crucial to keeping your brain healthy. Social isolation and loneliness have negative health impacts on par with obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking, and they are also associated with an approximately 50 percent higher risk of dementia. Simply taking a moment to connect with someone, even through a brief phone call, can reduce feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression and deliver brain-protecting benefits.
Finally, regular sleep can tremendously impact your neurological health, especially as you age. Establish a consistent bedtime routine, including a regular sleep schedule when possible. The quantity and quality of your sleep needed to clear debris, reset neural networks, and provide downtime to various systems in our brains have profound physiological impacts that impact our day-to-day thinking, memory, and mood and our long-term risk of cognitive decline and dementia.
Speak with your doctor to learn more about maintaining your cognitive health
later in life.
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