Aging is inevitable. Try as we may, it is a fact that we must face each day and with every tick of the clock. But aging should not be something to be dreaded. It only becomes difficult when we fail to keep ourselves healthy and suffer from the diseases that come with aging.
One of the most common problems faced by our senior population is the gradual loss of normal brain functioning. This ranges from partial memory loss to complete loss of cognitive abilities. Although it is totally normal for older individuals to suffer from episodes of â€œforgetfulness.â€ This should not be taken lightly as this might already indicate the early symptoms of a disease.
How to Keep Our Brains Young?
According to a study made at the University of California in San Francisco, cases of Alzheimer’s disease could be prevented or at least delayed by keeping ourselves healthy. Reducing risk factors such as smoking, obesity, inactivity and diabetes could cut down the number of people suffering from Alzheimer by at least half a million in the United States.
Exercise Your Body, Exercise Your Brain
A healthy body is a healthy mind. Keeping our body at optimum physical condition keeps our brain working sharply as well. Low physical activity is a risk factor for developing Alzheimerâ€™s disease. Exercising regularly could also decrease the development of dementia by as much as 40 percent. Just take a look at senior people who keep themselves active and you would notice that they retain their cognitive skills and remember better compared to those who simply sit at their homes all day.
Learn New Things Â
Itâ€™s never too late to late to learn a new skill. Keeping our brain cells working keeps brain connections alive. Reading is a good way of keeping our brains working but unless you increase the level of difficulty such as learning new things then you canâ€™t get the full benefit. Constantly challenging ourselves by learning a new set of skills keeps those brain cells working more than they usually do.
We build up our muscles by constantly lifting heavier weights or running a few miles further. When we are faced by aging and slowing brain functioning, learning new things keeps those brain â€œmusclesâ€ working at their optimum.
We canâ€™t stress enough the importance of eating a healthy diet. Itâ€™s important when weâ€™re young and continues to be true as we grow older. Diets rich in nuts, fish, fruits and vegetables supply our brain with important nutrients. Studies have suggested that people who eat green and leafy vegetables are less likely to suffer from cognitive decline compared to meat lovers.
Eating a healthy diet reduces the risks for developing Alzheimerâ€™s disease and dementia significantly. People who eat vegetables and fruits more regularly reduce their risk by as much as 70 percent.
Alzheimer Fighting Foods
Eating more fish, nuts, poultry, fruits and vegetables and eating less red meat and dairy products goes a long way in reducing the development of Alzheimerâ€™s disease. People who consumed brain healthy foods such as vinegar, nuts, olive oil, green leafy vegetables, fruits and tomatoes were less likely to suffer from dementia and Alzheimer. Studies also show that a combination of eating these types of food showed better results than concentrating on a single food type alone.
- Omega-3 rich foods â€“ Fish, vegetable oils and nuts are some of the best sources of Omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3 has been proven to decrease levels of unhealthy fat, clearing the tiny blood vessels that supply your brain with important nutrients.
- Coffee â€“ Coffee is an excellent source of anti-oxidants. It protects the blood brain barrier which prevents harmful chemicals from entering and damaging brain cells. Some studies have also shown that it could enhance brain functioning and memory.
- Lentils â€“ These are rich sources of glucose, fuels that power your brain. Lentils are not just excellent sources of glucose but also contain fibers which regulate the release of glucose.
- Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews and Walnuts â€“ Rich in magnesium and healthy monounsaturated fats. Magnesium facilitates the transmission of signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
- Orange colored vegetables and fruits â€“ These types of foods are rich sources of anti-oxidants. It also contains important Vitamins A, C and E. Vitamin A in particular reduces the risk for heart disease. This ensures the vital flow of blood and nutrients to the brain.
Weight and Dementia
Dementia is a medical condition characterized by impaired brain functioning and memory loss. People who are overweight have a higher risk for developing dementia. Extremely overweight people or those with a Body Mass Index or BMI of 30 are twice more likely to develop dementia.
High levels of cholesterol and hypertension, medical conditions associated with people who are overweight are six times more likely to suffer from dementia. People who are moderate and extremely overweight have also been found to have brains which are 4 to 8 percent smaller than those within normal weight limits.
High levels of bad fats or cholesterol in the blood vessels can impede the vital flow of precious nutrients to the brain. This leads to diminished brain functioning and possible long-term memory loss.
Healthy Living and Normal Brain Functioning
A healthy body is a healthy brain. Eating a healthy diet keeps harmful chemicals and bad fats away, keeping vital brain arteries clear from obstruction. This makes the transport of vital nutrients to the brain flowing while reducing damage from chemicals.
Exercising the brain could be done by solving simple puzzles, reading a book or picking up a new skill. This helps create new brain connections and keeps brain cells active. The brain is no muscle but could be kept active by mental exercises.