Healthy Brain Tips
We have all, throughout our entire lives, had moments where we find ourselves walking out of the grocery store and being unsure of which section of the parking lot we left our car parked in. Or setting down our keys or wallet and then immediately after, being unable to remember where we had just set them down. These are examples of memory loss that every adult, aging or not, experiences from time to time. While these incidents of memory loss are annoying, they are perfectly normal to experience.
However, for older adults, there is a higher risk of cognitive decline and memory loss which is due to the biological changes in the brain. As you age, the blood flow to the brain begins to decrease, and the hippocampus, which is the area responsible for retaining and retrieving memories begins to deteriorate. On top of this, the hormones that protect and repair the brain will also begin to decrease with age.
There is good news, however, despite how bleak this may sound to you. The fact is that there are things you can do to ensure you’re maintaining your brain health even as you continue down the long process of aging. While there is still no cure that has been discovered to prevent the serious memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s and other related forms of dementia, there has been much research done which has found multiple strategies to combat the natural decline of cognitive abilities that most adults experience as they age. Leading a healthy lifestyle by making sure to get regular exercise, adding brain healthy foods into your diet, and quitting bad habits like cigarette smoking or drinking alcohol excessively will all do more to benefit your mental health.
The importance of staying engaged with others and life and the world around you cannot be stressed enough. Many aging adults find themselves facing social isolation as they age, and isolation can lead to a higher risk of dementia. By finding activities you enjoy, you can have an easier time keeping in touch with others. Whether you find yourself volunteering, taking adult education classes, joining a fitness center, or simply scheduling weekly dates to meet friends for lunch or some other activity, all of these will help to combat cognitive decline.
A well balanced diet of brain healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat and low sugar can all help with reducing the risk of cognitive decline as well. In fact, research has found that certain foods which include blueberries, fish, almonds and other nuts, curry powder, and even the occasional glass of red wine can all help slow aging related cognitive decline.
Additionally, studies have shown that exercising your memory with brain games or brain exercises can help to slow cognitive decline. Try spending a few minutes before each shopping trip committing your grocery list to memory. You can also take an hour or so each day challenging yourself with some brain teasers or putting together jigsaw puzzles. You can also challenge yourself to learn something new, like taking foreign language classes or learning a musical instrument.