There is a current misconception that has been going through the minds of many that we aim to change. This misconception has to do with so many people thinking that as you rise higher in age, your brain function will decrease and there is nothing you can do about it.
This is a myth and a misconception that needs a rethink. According to a recent survey by Mounting research, it has been seen that one can improve his/her brain function no matter the age bracket you find yourself in.
Don’t go thinking that because you are growing older, your brain function has to diminish. There are ways by which you can improve your brain function even as you become older. Surveys also have it that people now consider brain degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease as part of the general characteristics of ageing.
However, scientists are claiming the exact opposite. “You can prevent Alzheimer’s disease, and it doesn’t have to happen to you when you are older,” says Dr Richard Isaacson who is the Medical Director of the Alzheimer’s prevention clinic at Weil Cornell Medicine.
When is the best time to start planning on how to improve your brain function? The time is now. Any changes that occur in your brain pattern that is likewise related to Alzheimer’s can cause severe cognitive impairment.
As you approach your 30s or 40s, you should begin planning how to preserve your brain function. Even if you are younger or older than that, as you move along the ages, you must make appropriate choices concerning your health.
Your choices of what you eat, how you think and what you do make a whole lot of difference concerning how your grey matter works not just now but later on in life. According to Dr Isaacson, there is no age too high or too small to begin to think about how to improve your brain health.
There are four things that centre around preserving your brain function. These four things include your brain activity, your choice of food intake, the quality of your thinking time as well as your sleep. These four things are inevitably important when it comes to how healthy your brain would be. Focusing on them now will help you preserve brain function.
There are some important ways you can boost your brain function even till now. Don’t worry, and these ways centre around the four major things that you need to take note of to boost your brain health.
1. Ensure you work, play, and move
You probably are already wondering what this means. Here is one fact you need to know. Getting your body into constant action helps clear your brain of a protein component known as amyloid.
One common thing that is seen to accumulate in the brain of patients who have Alzheimer’s is this protein component. Problem is there is no drug that can help reduce this build up if it eventually starts to accumulate.
The only way you can reduce this build up is through exercise. A survey was carried out on people who are considered to be “active” and those who are considered to be “inactive”. It was discovered that those who were found to be active had a 35% reduction rate in the risk of having a decline in cognitive function that those who were inactive.
Another research that was published in a neurology journal showed that people who were physically fit had stronger brain abilities even after they had gotten older. Doesn’t this difference tell you something?
This means that if you have not been exercising before, the time to do it is now. Get started. Get moving, start exercising even if it means just taking a long walk or dancing in the kitchen or engaging in a run with your dog.
Every day you must find new ways to become active. Don’t sit down there all day doing anything. Endeavour to find even if it is 20 or 30 minutes of purposeful activity every day in the week.
Engage in something that will speed up your heart rate a little. This effect is very good for your health.
You can always incorporate resistance training as well into your routine when you are feeling up for it. Remember, that way you won’t have a build up of amyloid and that is goodbye to Alzheimer’s disease.
2. Challenge your brain
One of the best ways to avoid dementia, Alzheimer’s and other cognitive brain degenerations is to challenge your brain and your mind. This helps your brain to become more flexible. We are not talking about sitting all day solving crossword puzzles, yes that is brain work but not quite effective enough.
What we mean by challenging your brain is you engaging in new intellectual things that you have never tried before. Doing this helps to improve brain activity is not just one part of your mind but in every part.
Trying new things out every day challenges a different part of your brain that may have been lying dormant for a while; perhaps, throughout your lifetime. You need to do new things in order to build a bridge of connection between the different parts of your brain.
Even if it means joining a book club, learning how to cook, learning a new language, keep on doing something new. According to Dr Sandra Bond Chapman, the feeling of doing new things, being engaged and learning a variety of other things you didn’t know help build a healthier mind.
You might be finding it difficult at first when you are still attached to your all day long routine. You need to pause a little and decide to try out new activities. Tweak your daily schedule a little to accommodate these new things you are willing to try out.
3. Get the amount of sleep that you need
Ever heard of this phrase “Cheat on sleep and Rob your mind of its potential”? If you refuse to rest or sleep, you don’t know the amount of damage you are doing to your brain health. Let’s think of it like this: when you sleep, that is when your brain gets to do the housekeeping.
Funny right? But it is true. The moment you actually decide to give yourself rest and sleep, your brain goes ink action by cleaning all the unwanted junks and information in your head.
According to Chapman, when you sleep your brain does the janitor work by cleaning out some of the toxic byproducts of your brain metabolism. Guess what? These poisonous byproducts are what leads to amyloid buildup which in turn causes Alzheimer’s disease.
You need to rethink your sleeping routine. In fact, you must make it a must to go to sleep. Understand that sleep is a must do and not a weakness. To healthily sleep, you must practice what is known as sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene means conditioning yourself and your bed for a good sleep. Ensure that you stay off every digital material at least 30 minutes before you go off to bed. Reason being that the light rays emitted from digital screen prevent you from producing the sleepy hormone known as melatonin that always gets to the peak at night.
When putting your daily schedule in order, do you actually give out time to sleep and rest? Make it a priority to sleep. Stop procrastinating the time you would go to bed when you are already feeling groggy.
Even before it gets to the night, try to arrange yourself for the next busy day. By doing this, you will ensure that your mind is at peace and not thinking about what you didn’t do that needed to be done.
4. Eat smarter, eat better, Get healthier
Though there is no single food that has yet been discovered to prevent or cure cognitive impairment, eating generally healthy diet can help them stay at bay. According to a team led by Martha Claire Morris, they were able to put together what is known as the Mind meal.
The mind meal includes food that has been seen to improve cognitive brain functions. The team recommends eating more of these as part of the meal: berries rich in antioxidants, vegetables especially the leafy green ones, fish and seafood due to the large quantities of omega three fatty acids that are present in it, and whole grain foods.
Foods you must cut down on, and/or avoid are foods with saturated and trans fats. This is because saturated and trans fat have been seen to cause severe damages in our cardiovascular system and invariably the function of the brain cells. This means that you must reduce your intake of red meat, butter, margarine, pastries, sweets, fried foods and fast or instant foods.
In Morris research, she found out that most people who stayed away from these foods were able to reduce the risk of them having Alzheimer’s from 53% to 35% and also the longer they remained on a diet, the higher the chances of them never getting Alzheimer’s.
So if you don’t want to increase your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease, you can follow these four steps, and they will be sure to help you keep your brain in good condition.