Your brain is the most important organ of the body, but it deteriorates with age. Here are ways to maintain your brain health as you age.
The brain is similar to any other muscle or body part. As you grow old, the brain’s health also deteriorates with time, like every other part of the body.
Aging is among the primary causes for the deterioration of brain health. It also results in the decline of cognitive health, which is the ability of a person to think and learn things clearly so that a person can perform their daily chores efficiently.
There are about 6.2 million people above the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. This number is expected to double by 2050 if similar trends continue. This article will shed light on how you can maintain your brain health as you grow old.
What Is Brain Health?
Brain health refers to the ability of your brain to function correctly. You can divide the functions of the brain into some more comprehensive categories such as:-
- Cognitive health: Your cognitive health refers to thinking, learning, and remembering things.
- Motor health: This part of the brain controls your movements and the ability to move. Things like balance, endurance, and so on fall in this category.
- Emotional health: This part covers our ability to interpret and respond to emotions. The emotions can be positive as well as negative.
- Tactile health: This part of your brain covers your response to sensations such as touch, feel, pressure, temperature, or pain.
You can expect your brain health to be affected by aging, injuries, brain surgeries, trauma, disorders in the mood such as depression. Substance abuse such as addiction to alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs can also have a massive impact on your brain health.
There are some factors like aging that you cannot control from affecting your brain health, but some aspects are under your control. Some of these ways are mentioned hereunder.
Ways to Maintain Your Brain Health as You Age
Improve and manage your blood pressure
Maintaining healthy blood pressure helps your heart and has a positive impact on the brain. The optimal blood pressure is between 90 to 120, whereas blood pressure of 140 is relatively high. Blood pressure below 90 is considered to be low blood pressure.
According to some observational studies, if you have high blood pressure throughout your 40’s and 60’s, you are at an enhanced risk of suffering from cognitive decline as you age.
Researchers have studied the impact of blood pressure on your cognitive health over the years. They have found out that having low blood pressure significantly lowers the risk of cognitive impairment in the body.
Cognitive impairment is also a risk factor that contributes to the development of dementia over the ages. You can monitor your blood pressure by routine check-ups or visits to the doctor. This will give your doctor a brief idea about your health, and they will be able to suggest some positive changes to your lifestyle.
Improve your diet and eat healthily
A diet can be considered healthy if it contains a lot of fruits and vegetables in it. If you are eating a balanced and healthy diet, you are at a lower risk of suffering from chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are conditions like heart diseases, brain impairment, diabetes, etc.
Ideally, your healthy diet should also have whole-grain foods, meats with less fat, dairy products with less fat, fish, and poultry. Instead of focusing on a particular section of food from the above list, you must try to incorporate every item on this list in moderation.
Limiting some aspects from your diet will prove helpful such as lowering your sugar consumption, trying to eat as little fat as possible, and limiting the intake of salt from your foods. You can start drinking more fluids such as water daily to have a healthier diet plan.
Be sure not to eat large-sized portions of food. Because as you age, your muscles and gut weaken. Eating large-sized amounts will ask your muscles to work overtime.
You can even switch to a Mediterranean diet. People that have switched to this diet are at a lower risk of suffering from dementia. People are not yet clear why this effect is because of a Mediterranean diet, but the positive impact could be because of the improvement in cardiovascular health.
Cardiovascular issues can contribute towards increasing the aging of the brain.
Improve your blood sugar
Our brain depends on glucose as a source of fuel. If our brain cannot get a sufficient amount of glucose, then there is a dip in our attention, memory, and learning abilities. You can find glucose in food items with a high quantity of starch.
Our body can break down the digestible carbohydrates present in the food to extract all the glucose. This glucose is then transported in our blood from there. It reaches the brain and other body parts. Blood sugar above the levels of 300 is considered very dangerous and detrimental to the deterioration of mental health.
Improve your cholesterol
Most people only relate cholesterol to heart diseases. These people don’t realize that cholesterol also affects your brain health. There are chances that Alzheimer’s disease or condition can be linked to cholesterol in some ways. There are particular substances in our brain known as Amyloid plaques. They are present in our brain and are responsible for protein build-up.
If your body has a lower quantity of HDL cholesterol and a higher quantity of LDL cholesterol, your brain will have increased Amyloid plaques. The higher the number of Amyloid plaques, the healthier your brain will be.
Exercise regularly and maintain your physical health
It is essential for maintaining your physical health to focus on your physical health. If you are active, there are high chances that your brain is also highly active and sharp. Senior people who are aging can still be physically active enough to perform their daily chores, household activities, etc.
Aerobic exercises are the best for maintaining an active lifestyle. You have to perform exercises that are going to help you to maintain as well as improve your strength. You must also work on your strength and balance to don’t develop any mobility issues.
One of the significant advantages of exercising is that it stimulates the ability of our brain to maintain old network connections and form new network connections.
If your brain can continuously form new connections, then your cognitive health is good. The number of connections in your brain will increase the size of the brain. This also results in better spatial memory.
It is advised by the health department to adults to have 150 minutes of physical activity at least each week. Aerobic exercises increase the glucose metabolism of our brain. Glucose metabolism refers to how our body can turn glucose into fuel.
Get mental stimulation and remain active
Mental stimulation is an essential aspect of having a healthy brain. If you keep your mind engaged even in old age, you will not feel the deterioration of your cognitive abilities. Mental stimulation refers to performing activities that you like to perform. You can engage in doing things that you have always wanted to do. It can also be seen that seniors that invested their time in performing activities that they like have a better memory than seniors who didn’t.
Some of these activities that you can pursue are music, dance, theater, etc. These activities are not just going to keep your mind engaged, but they will also improve your quality of living. If you suffer from depression or have very few social interactions, you should also pursue these activities.
You must remain active and social in this day and age. It doesn’t matter how old you get. You will always like that emotional connection with a person close to you. Remaining socially active will eradicate the feeling of being lonely and isolated.
Participating in social activities takes our minds away from the constant troubles and problems in our lives. Social activeness has a positive impact on our mood and reduces our stress.
Social activeness will also help you build strong connections with friends and family members. You can even join a hobby that you have always wanted to pursue but couldn’t due to any other reason.
Manage your stress levels
Stress is a phenomenon that naturally occurs in everyone’s lives consistently. Stress can be of two types: short-term stress as well as long-term stress. Stress can motivate them to take action and act according to them. Age can also be a growing factor among the stressors contributing to your life. There are some things that you can follow to reduce stress in your daily lives:-
- You can exercise regularly. Going for walks, jogging, and enjoying nature and our surroundings can help us to reduce our stress.
- Expressing your thoughts on paper is also an effective way of reducing your stress. This method will help you clear your head and manage your thoughts and emotions.
- Having a positive mindset is also very important. You don’t have to store your emotions as they will affect your mental health somehow. If you have a positive mindset, you will exert less pressure on your brain. Enjoying the simple things you like to do will give you a lot of stress.
- You can also take part in relaxing techniques such as meditation or yoga. These activities will provide you with emotional and mental stability. When you are stable emotionally and mentally, you will be able to make decisions more carefully. Breathing exercises can help your body relax and lessen the pressure and tension on the muscles, even including the brain.
Identify Genetic factors
You must identify genetic factors that lead to brain deterioration early. These are the factors that are passed down from generation to generation. Some diseases can occur in multiple family generations because of the person’s heredity.
Some of these factors may also lead to a decline in the thinking and cognitive abilities of the person. These factors are not in your control as they are passed down from parents to children. However, you can reduce their risk by controlling the other factors such as the environment and physical factors.
Get plenty of sleep and rest
Proper rest and sleep are vital for reducing your mental stress and strain. You will feel refreshed and energized if you get plenty of rest and sleep. Sleep is essential for several brain functions.
When you are asleep, the neurons in the body can rest and regenerate. Sleep directly impacts almost every cell and tissue in our body. Our brain is responsible for controlling the transitions between sleeping and waking.
Quit smoking and drinking
Smoking is harmful to our body, and it also causes damage to our brain. As you grow, old smoking will have more damage on your body than the damage caused when you are young. People addicted to smoking are at risk of suffering from heart attacks, strokes, or even developing lung diseases and conditions.
Like smoking, alcohol consumption also has a deteriorating effect on the brain. If you consume too much alcohol, your brain cells will be unable to communicate with each other.
People that consume high quantities of alcohol even in old age can be seen with slurred speech, fuzzy memory, dizziness, and drowsiness. As people grow old, they become more sensitive to the effects of alcohol. Consult your doctor if you have a problem with alcohol addiction. Alcohol also has a negative impact when consumed with certain medicines.
Awareness regarding mental health has grown a lot in recent times. Earlier mental health was considered to be a taboo subject to talk about. Now people are more willing to discuss and educate themselves on these topics. People often neglect brain health for many reasons because of a lack of awareness and knowledge on the subject.
We have tried and discussed every aspect of brain health and how you can improve it while you age. If the given information has helped you, give us a thumbs up on social media and in your groups! Also, share it with others to make them aware of the brain health improvement possibilities.
If you have some suggestions, tips, and tricks of your own about improving brain health, please note them down for our readers in the comments section. We will try to include the best suggestions in the main article itself.