As we grow older, it’s not only our bodies that start to go downhill. Things like following a healthy, balanced diet combined with regular exercise can help slow the aging process physically somewhat, but is there anything we can do for our brains as we get older?
Developing Alzheimer’s Disease is a real risk for many Australians as they approach their senior years, so it’s important to be able to do everything possible to prevent developing this mentally crippling condition.
Let’s take a look at some ways you can keep your brain healthy as you grow older and hopefully avoid ever developing Alzheimer’s.
Continued Mental Stimulation Keeps the Brain Active
Just as we need to continually work out our muscles to keep them in shape as we age, the same goes for our minds.
Through studies over the years, scientists have found that the more humans stimulate their brains at any age, new connections are made. Through regular brain activity, new nerve cells are created which bolsters the brain and gives it nerve cells in reserve in case other nerve cells die off.
Anything that makes you really think and gets the brain active is going to be good for it. A simple example would be regularly doing puzzles that involve problem-solving. Reading a lot is also highly beneficial.
In all honesty, you could very much write an entire book on all the things we can do to stimulate our brains and keep them active, fit and healthy.
Seek Advice From Health Professionals
If you’re hoping to avoid ever developing Alzheimer’s later in life, talk to health professionals, as they’ll be able to offer loads of sound advice on things you can do.
If you’re concerned you might already be developing the early signs of Alzheimer’s, or have a loved one living with the disease, allied health professionals are there to help. This can include advice on what to do, home care for someone who has Alzheimer’s or dementia, or helps to diagnose whether Alzheimer’s is present and work out a treatment plan.
To locate allied health professionals near you, just search online for terms like the following example, “Sydney allied health”. Just substitute with your location.
Get Regular Physical Exercise
Your brain doesn’t just benefit from mental exercise, but physical activity as well.
To begin with, physical exercise helps to deliver more oxygen and vital nutrients to the brain. It can also encourage the development of new nerve cells and brain cell connections. The reduction of mental stress is yet another benefit for the mind that physical activity delivers. Feel-good endorphins are also released when we exercise.
Both blood pressure and blood sugar levels are improved when we’re active and this also plays a major role in brain health.
No matter which way you look at it, getting out there and getting active is great for both the physical body and the mind.
Eat a Healthy and Balanced Diet Consistently
The word “consistently” is key here, as sometimes we strive to eat healthily, but only do it every now and then rather than on a daily basis.
When we eat good, nutritious food, we tend to think about how beneficial it is for our bodies, but it’s just as important for brain health as well.
Some food groups to focus on that are good for the brain include:
- Fruit and vegetables
- Olive oil and fish oil
- Proteins from plant sources
If you can focus on eating at the right times, eating healthy food, drinking water and natural juices, cutting back on alcohol consumption and too much caffeine, your brain will thank you for it.
Cigarettes and Alcohol
It’s a good idea to give up cigarettes altogether and when it comes to alcohol consumption, keep it to a bare minimum of maybe a few drinks per week, or one glass of wine a day if you enjoy an alcoholic beverage with your evening meal.
Too much drinking and smoking are not going to help your brain remain fit and healthy.
There are many things you can do to look after the fitness and health of your brain. The more your brain is active, the less chance there is of you developing Alzheimer’s later on in life.