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.
What’s Good for Your Heart is Good for Your Brain.What can add years to your life, help you lose weight, boost your mood, improve your sleep, reduce your risk of heart disease and keep your bones and your brain healthy? Exercise!
Build Endurance with Aerobic ExerciseIn addition to improved heart health, regular endurance exercise, like running, swimming or biking, can also foster new brain cell growth and preserve existing brain cells.
CONTROL MEDICAL RISKS. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. You can control and reduce these risks. Get your annual check-up, follow your doctor’s recommendations and take medications as prescribed. Get engaged in a brain healthy lifestyle for your body and your mind.
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 Alzheimer’s disease. Practicing meditation and managing stress may help fend off age-related decline in brain health. Stay positive. Be happy.
YOUR MIND: USE IT OR LOSE IT. Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Mental exercises may improve your brain’s functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia. Like your muscles, you have to use your brain or you lose it.
Build Your Brain Reserve
You have something called “brain reserve,” which helps your brain adapt and respond to changes and resist damage. Your brain reserve begins to develop in childhood and gets stronger as you move through adulthood. People who continue to learn, embrace new activities, and
develop new skills and interests are building and improving their brain reserve.
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 and connected with family and friends are good for your brain health. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline.
Shared hobbies are a great way to meet like-minded people. Get active in sports or cultural activities. Volunteer or join clubs. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to talk to others in a relaxed setting that you both enjoy.
People who remain active and engaged with others through volunteering report being happier and healthier overall.
Food for Brain: The Mediterranean Way
Research shows that a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, olives, and nuts helps maintain brain health and may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Cook and eat fresh food, savor the taste, enjoy dining with family and friends. A Mediterranean regimen is more than just a diet. It’s a lifestyle, a way of living well.
Don’t Forget Fish
Fish is a great source of omega-3, the type of fatty acid your body can’t produce, and it’s good for your brain. At least twice a week, eat five ounces of omega-3-rich fish, such as salmon, cod, haddock, tuna or halibut.
Fish isn’t your thing? Try walnuts, flaxseeds or soybeans instead.
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