Have you had a “senior” moment? Perhaps you went to the living room for a purpose only to forget what that was the moment you got there or you can’t seem to remember the name of that high school classmate of yours who you just bumped into at the supermarket. If you’ve experienced these or something similar, don’t be alarmed as memory lapses are common and can happen at any age.
However, you can help battle back cognitive decline and lessen the risk of developing dementia by practicing healthy habits such as staying physically active, getting sufficient sleep, not smoking, keeping good social connections, limiting the ingestion of alcohol and eating a good diet, just to name a few.
It is undeniable that memory and cognitive changes can be maddening but fortunately, research has determined that you can help maintain cognitive fitness with these useful tips:
Stimulate Your Mind
Through research involving mice and humans, scientists have determined that consistent mental activities cultivate new connections between nerve cells and may even assist the brain in producing new cells, developing what is called “neurological plasticity” to generate a functional reserve that acts as a hedge against cell loss in the future. As for what these activities are, a mentally stimulating one will do such as reading, learning a new course and answering word puzzles or math problems just to cite a few examples. You can also try doing things that need manual dexterity and effort such as painting, drawing and stitching.
Keep Your Physical Level Up
Studies have proven that regular usage of your muscles can also aid the mind. Research involving animals showed that consistent exercise increased the number of tiny blood vessels that transport oxygen-rich blood to the part of the brain that is responsible for your thoughts. Studies also determined that exercise also stimulates the development of new nerve cells and improves the connections between brain cells or what is commonly referred to as synapses. All these lead to brains that are more active, adaptive and most importantly, efficient. Also, regular exercise lowers your blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, aids in achieving better sugar balance and lessens mental stress, all of which are beneficial for your brain and cardiovascular functions.
Be Mindful of Your Diet
It’s no secret that maintaining a healthy diet is beneficial for your brain and the rest of your body. The foods you consume have a very important role in keeping your brain healthy and can bolster specific mental tasks, like memory retention and concentration. Some of the best brain foods include oily fish such as salmon and tuna, dark chocolate, berries, nuts and seeds, whole grains, coffee, avocados, eggs, broccoli, kale and soy products.
Develop Good Blood Pressure
Having high blood pressure during midlife can raise your risk of cognitive decline when you get older. Thus, you should modify your lifestyle to help keep your blood pressure at an ideal rate. Some ways you can do this is exercise consistently, maintain a lean physique, reduce stress, limit alcohol consumption and eat a healthy diet.
Improve Your Blood Sugar
Diabetes is considered to be a crucial risk factor for dementia. However, you can help prevent diabetes by eating the right foods, consistent exercise and maintaining a lean body. If you notice that your blood sugar level is still high, you may need to see a doctor for proper medication.