Gray Matters: 7 Tips For Lasting Brain Health
Today, nearly 6 million Americans are battling Alzheimer’s (the most common form of dementia) with the rate growing every year. And while you may think that degenerative brain diseases only affect those in their twilight years, it turns out, the contributing factors may begin as early as your 20s. Now scientists, health gurus, and celebrities are all finding ways to fight back. And luckily, they’ve discovered many simple ways to maintain a healthy brain that will keep you sharp well into your centenarian tweens. With a few easy lifestyle tweaks, you can give your brain the love it needs to live a long and prosperous life. It’s a no-brainer.
Photo: RichVintage (Getty Images)
To pose or not to pose? 7 Reasons Hot Yoga Might Not Be the Hottest Idea For You This Summer
Kicking it with the people you love is a great way to stimulate the mind. Being social, fielding multiple conversations, laughing, catching up -- all these things are like Korean eye cream for an aging mind. Try implementing a social night at least once a week that involves good friends, good food, and good conversation.
Dancing is more than just flailing your arms and legs to the beat of your favorite Chumbawumba song. It’s a direct connection from the mind to the body and a physical manifestation of your brain’s synapses firing like French Revolution canons into every inch of your limbs. Take it a step further by learning a new dance combination every few weeks and pretty soon you’ll be dubbed crazy Uncle Albert, the dancing geezer with the smooth moves.
Replace processed and sugary foods with natural, organic foods. Make a habit of noshing on dark leafy greens, nutrient-rich fruits, and lean proteins high in omega-3 fatty acids. The things you put into your body will pay dividends over the course of your life. Start today.
Don’t spend too much time on your phone.
Research suggests that smartphone usage may result in an imbalance in brain chemistry. Not to mention that becoming wholly reliant on your phone to remember names, dates, phone numbers, and other information your brain could store, will lead to a zombie mind. Make an effort to ditch the phone on the regular and mix it up with life's other gorgeous fruits of pleasure.
Don’t get hammered every day.
We enjoy a drink and a smoke as much as the next guy, but flooding the brain with drugs and alcohol will dull the receptors over time, not to mention wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system. Being in a fog is fun for short stints, but no one wants to get stuck in the fog forever like those bearded fisherman in John Carpenter's 1980 classic The Fog.
Challenge your mind.
Imagine your brain is Bruce Lee: lean, mean, and super ripped. Alzheimer’s is the evil dude who owns the island in Enter The Dragon. You’ll have no problem defeating him in a hall of mirrors if you keep old Bruce fit. Read, do puzzles, challenge the cognitive functions of your brain and you’ll kick Alzheimer’s ass six ways from Sunday.
Don’t give up.
We all get down in the dumps from time to time. But dwelling in the doldrums can actually lead to loss of cognitive function. Whatever motivates you and brings joy and purpose to your life, find it and hold onto it. That inner spark will light the way to a brighter, brain-healthier future.