If you’re start to near your golden years, you might begin to look into ways in which you can help maintain brain health. The development of dementia in older folks has risen to nearly epidemic levels in the U.S. – in fact, a recent report from the Alzheimer’s association indicates that 33 percent of elderly people are coping with some form of dementia by the time they pass away.
Unfortunately, science has yet to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, and there isn’t anything anyone can do about significant risk factors such as heredity and aging. While there’s always a possibility of developing dementia and other brain degenerative conditions at some point regardless of your choices in life, many experts have researched ways to potentially maintain your brain health for the longest time possible.
It would seem that the development of many conditions related to brain health, heart health and innumerable other conditions could be stymied by many of the same lifestyle choices. The Alzheimer’s Association explains that while eating right and exercising regularly is definitely not a foolproof method for preventing dementia and related problems later in life, these habits certainly don’t seem to hurt anyone’s chances of maintaining a fully-functional brain.
On its list of tips for keeping up brain health, the Alzheimer’s Association notes that getting exercise helps keep blood flowing, and could improve chances the new brain cells will develop. Also, because strokes sometimes cause brain damage and a low cholesterol diet helps reduce the odds of having a stroke, it follows that a low cholesterol diet may also decrease the chances of having brain damage.
Many cardiovascular health problems including heart disease have been connected to poor brain health, the Alzheimer’s Association notes. In addition – the diet the organization recommends includes lots of vegetables and fruits for their antioxidant content.
It’s also noteworthy that smoking has been linked to a greater likelihood of heart disease and stroke, and Paul Nussbaum, Ph.D., has “Don’t Smoke” as his number one method for brain maintenance.
Enjoy a good night’s sleep
A report from Reader’s Digest points to research compiled by Harvard Medical School, which showed that a solid 7-to-8 hours of sleep a night increased the odds that study patients would creatively solve math problems.
Feed your brain
You might be wondering “What does solving math problems have to do with keeping my brain healthy?” Well, some experts indicate that keeping your mind active may, in fact, benefit brain health. On his website, Nussbaum says mental stimulation could keep your brain strong the same way getting regular exercise can keep your body strong. Learning new things can lead to what Nussbaum calls “neurophysiological growth.” So consider reading a book, or picking up a new hobby if you’re looking for an easy and potentially fun way to help reduce mental degeneration.
Maintain social relationships
A few different sources indicate that something as simple as continuing to enjoy life can stave off many of the effects of poor brain health. The Alzheimer’s Association displays scientific findings showing that a good mix of mental, physical and social activity could drop the chances of developing dementia. The organization encourages older readers to continue professional activities in some capacity, but it also says that volunteering, participating in social groups and traveling could also help keep the mind limber and lucid.
So, while there’s no sure-fire way to prevent dementia, none of these preventive actions would seem to be the kinds of things many people who enjoy a healthy, enjoyable lifestyle would be adverse to partaking in.