You Really Can Control Your Brain Health As You Age
As we each age, all parts of our bodies begin to deteriorate. In fact, this is the whole idea of aging, your body starts to slowly shut down. Even looking older is caused by the decline in the amount of elastin in the skin, so the skin’s loss of function.
Some of the hardest times in aging is watching and struggling with the deterioration of your brain. One important reason why controlling your brain health as you age is very important is the serious concern of the increase of diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s in the past decades.
It is a scary prospect, our brains are aging everyday losing the ability to make new connections, learn new skills, make new memories, or recall old ones. All the way through until the prospect of your brain losing its ability to recall who you are becomes a real possibility. Why does this happen?
There are a number of effects aging has on the brain that effect your cognition and slow your brain:
- First, after age 40 the brain loses a significant and measurable amount of mass each decade.
- Then, around the same age, your myelin sheaths (the outer fatty part of your nerves and brain cells that protects the electrical signals traveling through them) start to deteriorate as well.
- Finally, with age brain connections slowly lose plasticity, their ability and flexibility that allows them to change and form new connections (Ageing and the brain; R Peters).
However, that does not have to be the case.
Brain Health And Wellness
You can take some control of your brain’s agility even as it and the rest of your body ages. Just like your muscles and bones, with proper care, nutrition, and exercise you can expect your brain to carry you well into your golden years. Forgetfulness does not have to be an inevitable fact of aging.
There is a range of every day steps you can take to protect your brain. A lot of these steps you should already be taking to protect other parts of your health. Simple healthy living tips like keeping blood sugar and blood pressure within normal limits, regular exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet rich in necessary nutrients, and avoiding bad habits like smoking and alcohol will all contribute to helping keep your brain health as you age per Harvard Medical.
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle while all your faculties are intact can keep your brain on top of the game, minimizing, and delaying “senior moments.”
However, what if you are not satisfied with just eating right and living well for your brain, what more can you do?
Brain Health And Diet
Adopting a Mediterranean diet may boost your brain performance. This style of eating contains more of the vital brain nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids than your standard western diet. According to WebMD, this diet may be able to boost brain performance by nearly 20% as compared to the diet most American are accustomed to.
Staying in touch with friends, family, and even strangers is also known to boost brain activity and thus longevity. A healthy social network can fend off the negative brain effects caused by aging. In fact, in more than study loneliness has been a direct link to mental decline and aging.
Play mind games! Whether you download one of the apps for brain teasers and mind puzzles or simply start brushing your hair and teeth with your non-dominant hand, exercising your mind could be one of the simplest and most important steps you take to preserve brain function. Brain exercises build new connections, grow your brain, and help maintain speed and plasticity.
The effects of aging on the brain can be particularly scary, but you don’t have to accept them as facts of life. You can take control your brain health as you age by taking control of your own health!