Our brains are fascinating.
The brain works throughout your life, even before you leave the womb, to manage your body’s activities and to help you understand and interact with the world around you. Maintaining a healthy brain will allow you to keep your mind clear and active so you can continue to work, rest, and accomplish the things that are most important to you.
Heart health has long been emphasised, but brain health is equally important for our ability to think, act, and live well. Reduced risk factors, mental activity, and getting the most out of your brain as you age are all important aspects of brain health.
What Affects Brain Health?
Chronic diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure, as well as family history and how we spend our lives, have an impact on our brain’s ability to operate properly. All of these things can raise your chances of getting Alzheimer’s disease or vascular dementia. We can’t change our genetic makeup, but we may alter our lifestyles to lessen the chances of dementia and moderate cognitive decline.
There’s mounting evidence that the decisions we make in life can have a big impact on our mental and physical health as we age. Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, or other forms of dementia are not simply a result of bad luck.
Doctors and scientists have discovered that implementing lifestyle changes can improve brain health and minimise the chances of dementia and age-related cognitive decline. Regular physical activity, quitting harmful habits like smoking and drinking, eating a healthy diet, and remaining socially active can all help to improve brain health. There are no assurances; we’ve all seen folks who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease while being in good health and leading a healthy lifestyle.
Living properly, on the other hand, makes a significant difference. A healthy lifestyle not only lowers your chance of dementia, but it also protects you from other major disorders including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, according to statistics.
The brain adapts to what we’ve learnt and experienced throughout our lives. New connections are formed all the time in a healthy brain, and broken ones are mended. As we get older, particularly as we approach middle age, changes in the brain can begin to occur, resulting in a gradual loss of mental capacities.
This is referred to as age-related cognitive decline, and it causes people to become increasingly forgetful and mentally sluggish. As a result, while brain health is crucial at any age, it gets increasingly important as we become older.
Mental decline is one of the most terrifying elements of ageing, but it is preventable. Working to enhance your brain health can help you keep your memory, understanding, communication, and overall quality of life.
What Can We Do to Improve Brain Health?
There is no single all-powerful brain meal that can guarantee a bright mind as you age, just as there is no miracle drug to prevent cognitive loss. The most crucial method, according to nutritionists, is to adopt a balanced eating pattern that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Choose healthy fats like olive oil or canola oil over saturated fats and get your protein from plants and fish.
According to research, the best brain foods are those that also protect your heart and blood vessels, such as the following:
Green, leafy vegetables – Kale, spinach, collards, and broccoli are high in vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene, all of which are beneficial to the brain. These plant-based diets may help delay cognitive decline, according to research.
Fatty fish – Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good unsaturated fats associated to lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein that forms harmful clumps in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Consume fish at least twice a week, but select mercury-free kinds such as salmon, cod, canned light tuna, and pollack. If you don’t like fish, talk to your doctor about taking an omega-3 supplement, or opt for flaxseeds, avocados, and walnuts as terrestrial omega-3 sources.
Berries – Flavonoids, the natural plant pigments that give berries their vibrant colours, have been shown to aid memory in studies. Researchers from Harvard’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital discovered that eating two or more servings of strawberries and blueberries each week could postpone memory loss by up to two and a half years.
Tea and coffee – Caffeine in your daily cup of coffee or tea may provide more than simply a temporary boost in concentration. In a 2014 study published in The Journal of Nutrition, participants who consumed more coffee performed better on mental function tests. According to recent research, caffeine may also aid in the consolidation of new memories. Participants were invited to look at a series of photos before taking either a placebo or a 200-milligram caffeine tablet, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. On the following day, more members of the coffee group were able to correctly identify the photos.
Walnuts – Nuts are high in protein and healthy fats, and one variety of nut, in particular, may help with memory. Higher walnut eating was associated to better cognition test scores in a 2015 UCLA study. Walnuts are abundant in alpha-linolenic acid, a form of omega-3 fatty acid (ALA). Low blood pressure and healthier arteries have been related to diets high in ALA and other omega-3 fatty acids. This is beneficial to both the heart and the brain.
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