Eight powerful ways to improve the health of your brain.
According to a Harvard Health report, the brain health benefits of physical exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells.
Another important factor for brain health is stress management. One of the biggest issues for women today is coping with and understanding how to moderate stress levels. Stress has become a huge issue for women and it can affect brain health and healthy aging. We all have to learn how to decrease stresses, yet embrace challenges.
While we all want to try to be wonderful partners, daughters, friends, colleagues, employees, bosses, sisters, mothers and all the other things we are in our lives, we need to start to look at our own health and making health a priority.
When considering steps to take to protect your brain health, always remember that there are non-modifiable risk factors, such as family history, genetics, gender and age. However, there are also significant modifiable risk factors. Below are the things you can do now to reduce your long term risk:
8 steps can you take to protect and strengthen your brain:
- Get restful sleep, aim for 8 hours a night, by establishing a regular sleep schedule.
- Limit your alcohol consumption to 7-9 drinks per week— excessive long-term drinking can result in neurological damage and impaired mental processing.
- Quit smoking — according to research, smoking damages memory, learning and reasoning. As well as a million other harmful thing!
- Reduce your levels of stress through activities like exercise and meditation, which can decrease the rate of cellular aging, thus your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia.
- Eat a healthy diet, avoid trans and saturated fats, get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids and enjoy a rainbow of fruits and vegetables. Studies show that women who eat more vegetables experience less risk of cognitive decline. Folic acid, vitamin B12, vitamin D, magnesium and fish oil are believed to preserve and improve brain health.
- Get regular exercise, approximately 30 minutes, 4 times per week. Recent studies show that those who workout are less likely to get Alzheimer’s and dementia, and have a reduced risk of stroke. Exercise also increases brain volume in older adults and decreases the likelihood of experiencing even mild cognitive decline.
- Keep your brain active! Learn something new, practice memorization, and enjoy strategy games, puzzles and riddles — the more frequent and complex your cognitive activity, the less likely you are to develop Alzheimer’s.
- Maintain an active social life — friends and meaningful social engagements can decrease stress, slow the rate of cognitive aging, increase resilience to injury and increase overall quality of life. Social connectedness is a major key to healthy aging.