With age comes several changes, both physically and mentally. While there are many things we cannot control when it comes to aging, such as genetics, how well we take care of ourselves will largely determine whether you suffer some form of cognitive decline or illness as you get older. Your brain is a complex organ with many intricacies, but there are a number of things you can do to ensure that when it comes to your brain — age is just a state of mind!
1. Examine Your Nutrition
Vitamin B12, which can be found in a variety of protein sources, like fish, beef, and dairy, is important for brain health. Your brain is made up primarily of fat and cholesterol, making them highly vulnerable to dietary deficiencies if you do not eat enough healthy fats or consume high-quality foods containing vitamin D. In addition to vitamins, healthy fats and proteins are also crucial for the health of your brain. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in various foods such as salmon, tuna, and walnuts. These nutrients help to protect brain cells from damage by free radicals, which contribute to aging. Iron is another essential nutrient that helps give your brain energy while preventing fatigue. Lean red meats like beef or lamb contain iron, but dark leafy greens, legumes, and dried fruit all have high concentrations of this mineral.
2. Develop A Healthy Diet
Eating a high carbohydrate diet is not ideal for your brain. It can lead to impaired brain function and even depression over time. Eating foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, lean proteins, and healthy fats, like avocados or almonds, will help you perform better cognitively than eating junk foods full of sugar and carbohydrates. Your brain need fuel just like the rest of your body does, which means you cannot neglect your caloric needs! Numerous studies have found those who consumed healthier diets had lower rates of mental decline with age. At the same time, those with poorer dietary patterns were at greater risk for developing dementia later on in life. People who ate higher amounts of vegetables, fruits, and fish have shown that these foods do have a significant benefits for your brain.
3. Consider Meditation
Meditation is a practice that can be great for your brain. Meditation helps reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, which are all factors that can contribute to mental decline or illness over time. The prefrontal cortex of your brain controls executive functions like decision-making, problem-solving, and self-control. This part of your brain has been found to shrink with age, but a long-term study on people who meditated regularly starting at middle age revealed that they had a larger volume of gray matter — than those who did not practice meditation.
4. Exercise Regularly
Exercise is another essential aspect that helps keep your brain healthy and functioning correctly. Exercise stimulates neurogenesis — the growth of new neurons, which improves memory and cognition while also stimulating the release of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, which are associated with mood regulation. Researchers have found that older adults who exercised regularly performed better on cognitive tests than those who did not exercise or were only sporadically active. In addition to exercise, other activities like socializing and participating in hobbies that are stimulating can help improve cognition.
5. Notice Your Air Quality
The air you breathe is vital for your brain. A recent study found that exposure to air pollution may lead to brain damage and even neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease. Air pollutants can cause inflammation in your body which affects overall health, including your brain’s. In fact, some studies have found people who live near major roads are more likely to develop dementia than those living far from traffic. To get the latest updates on your air quality, check out Molekule’s Air Quality Review skill. When you know the facts, you are in a position to do something about it.
6. Get Enough Sleep
You should make a serious effort to get a good night’s sleep every single day. One study found that those who slept for five hours or less each night were at greater risk for developing dementia compared to people who got seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night. Researchers believe the lack of rest negatively impacts brain health over time, which is why it is essential to take care of your body and mind — by sleeping enough every day! Sleep will also help you feel more energized and motivated throughout the day — leading to you having a better mindset and motivation — as compared to a tired, worn-out individual.
7. Drink Plenty Of Water
The amount of water you intake each day is just as crucial for the brain. Water helps to remove toxins and waste from your body, including from your brain, which can negatively affect cognition if not taken care of properly. The quality or purity of your water plays an essential role in health as well. Sufficient water intake may also help prevent the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s, which is why it should be a priority each day. Research has demonstrated that drinking more water can improve memory and other cognitive functions. For example, investigators have found that the hippocampus region of your brain, which controls learning new skills or information, was more extensive in people who drank two cups of water before doing a particular task — than others who did not consume any water prior to the task. This suggests that by staying hydrated — you give your brain a boost in function, which can help you perform better than if you were more dehydrated.
8. Keep On Learning
Just as your body keeps on growing and changing throughout your life, so does your brain. Learning new things is essential for keeping your brain working at your best! Studies have found that those who are constantly learning new skills experience less cognitive decline over time — than people who don’t learn anything or stop exploring different interests. Researchers believe this process of constant self-improvement helps build up a resistance in your brain against diseases like Alzheimer’s, which could explain why these individuals tend to stay sharp longer than others with fewer diverse interests. Research has also shown that doing crossword puzzles can help keep your mind sharp by strengthening specific brain areas involved in language processing and memory retention. Doing even just one puzzle per week can improve brain function and memory recall. So if you loved doing them when you were younger — there’s no reason to stop now!
9. Reduce Your Stress Levels
Stress is an unavoidable part of life, and everyone deals with it differently — but when stress becomes a chronic issue, it can start to affect your overall health, including your brain function. For example, stress has been linked to depression, which affects the way your brain handles memory retrieval. Studies have found that those who were stressed out had less activity in their hippocampus regions — than people who didn’t report being as anxious or worried about what was happening around them. Research suggests reducing stress levels doesn’t just help improve mood and decrease depressive symptoms. This also helps boost memory recall — making it easier for you to learn new skills more quickly! This means not only will you feel better by dealing with high-stress situations effectively — but your brain will also be healthier!
10. Stay Social
One of the easiest ways to improve your overall health and brain function is by staying connected with people. Studies have shown that the onset of Alzheimer’s can be prevented in people who often socialize — this means it’s never too early to start making friends! Socializing makes us feel good mentally and physically, as it reduces stress levels throughout your body, including your brain. Researchers also believe when you are engaged in a conversation or doing something fun like playing games together, your brain release chemicals called endorphins, which causes pleasure similar to those associated with eating certain foods or exercising. This releases dopamine into your system — giving us pleasant sensations all over while improving memory recall simultaneously! So don’t underestimate how meaningful relationships are for living longer!