Your brain changes with age. Aging affects the brain’s structure, chemistry, and function. As you age, your brain shrinks in volume. Some of the changes that the brain undergoes as you age can even slow down your thinking. Keep reading to the end to determine what you can do to optimize brain health.
The brain size doesn’t matter, but bigger is slightly better. The brain size starts declining once you hit 43 years. A 60 years old man has a smaller brain than a 30 years old man. That is why a sixty years old man might not be able to multitask like a young adult.
The smaller the brain size, the lower the level of neurotransmitters and hormones. Low levels of neurotransmitters in the brain are the reason for the slow processing speed and difficulty multitasking in senior people.
Everyone fears the consequences of aging. Luckily, there are some things that you can do to slow aging. Here are some of the things that you can do to optimize your brain health and maintain its function:
1. Get enough sleep
Chronic lack of sleep has adverse effects on the brain and can cause depression, memory problems, and poor concentration. Lack of enough sleep can contribute to the clumping of beta-amyloid protein in the brain, which increases the risks of Alzheimer’s disease. Sleep apnea also increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain diseases.
Sleep gives your brain downtime, which allows the brain cells to grow and repair. When you are asleep, the spaces between your brain cells increases to permit the brain to flush out toxins that accumulate when the brain is working.
Sleep deprivation can also be a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. If you are not getting quality sleep, you should talk to your doctor about it. The doctor will examine you to determine the root cause of the problem and give you medications or recommend some lifestyle changes.
2. Get physical exercise
Staying active can improve your health and blood circulation. Regular moderate exercises like biking and jogging can help promote the synthesis of new cells and blood vessels in the brain. That will help increase brain volume and slow aging.
Staying active can help slow or stop the degeneration of the temporal and frontal lobes. The two sections of the brain cerebrum are responsible for executive control like planning and memory.
At least 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercises three to four times a week can help improve your immune system, brain health, digestion, weight loss and lower your risk of obesity and other chronic diseases. Exercising boosts blood circulation and helps your brain get enough supply of oxygen and nutrients. You don’t have to be going to the gym to stay active. There are some workouts that you can do at home to boost your brain health.
3. Improve your diet
Good nutrition is good for your brain. Healthy dietary habits can help reduce the risks of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases that can cause a stroke. Stroke can damage your brain cells.
Your car performs well when you give it premium gas. Your brain is just like a car. You can enhance its functioning by eating high-quality foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and other micronutrients. Eating diet rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean protein, and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help optimize your cognitive health.
4. Limit alcohol
If you take alcohol, you need to be careful about how much you are taking. Too much alcohol is also not good for your health and brain, especially if you are above 60 years old. Alcohol can interact with your medications and also increase the risk of liver and kidney failure. Alcohol can also lead to confusion, falls, and road accidents.
Too much alcohol also has negative impacts on the brain. Earlier studies were showing that drinking alcohol can boost brain function and protect you from Alzheimer’s disease. Recent studies are showing the opposite of that. They have that even light alcohol consumption can cause brain shrinkage and cognitive decline. According to CDC, men should not take more than two glasses of alcohol in a day. If you are a lady, you should not take more than one glass, no matter whether it is beer, spirit, or wine drinking less is essential for your health.
5. Stay connected
Staying socially active is good for your well-being. People with rich social networks have a clear purpose in life and less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Spending time with your family is also essential and can help reduce stress. Having time for your family can make you happier and help improve your mental health. Successful people have time for their families because that makes them happy and helps them reduce stress.
If you don’t go to the gym, you should consider getting started as it will give you a chance to talk to people. When you are running, biking, swimming, power walking, and lifting weights, you will be interacting with people. That will give you a perfect opportunity to get fit and make new friends.
Traveling to see the world and experience new places, food, culture, and other experiences is also good for your brain health. You can’t do this all your free time, but it is important to visit places that make you happy. Remember to plan for a vacation in advance.
6. Get mental stimulation
Some activities can help improve your brain’s processing speed, memory, and reasoning. Playing guitar or any other musical instrument, learning a new language, playing board games like bingo, crosswords, cards, and chess can help boosts the brain’s cognitive function.
Specific computer-based cognitive training can help slow the progress of age-related cognitive degeneration. These trainings are very important for people who are at a high risk of dementia.
Depression is the feeling of prolonged sadness. It is common in older people but not part of aging. If left untreated, depression can result in serious behaviors like drug and alcohol addiction. It can also cause problems at work and ruin relationships.
Seeking treatment immediately after recognizing some of its symptoms is helpful. Some medications can help treat depression. Your doctor can also recommend some lifestyle changes.
Depression can be a symptom of a neurological condition. Talking to your doctor as soon as possible might help diagnose the condition before it starts causing more symptoms. Your doctor might even be able to treat the condition or slow its progression.
8. Quit smoking
You may have started smoking for fun without knowing its effects on your health and brain. Quitting smoking and avoiding exposure to secondhand smoke is the best thing that you can do. It will help improve blood circulation, which will then optimize your heart and brain health.
No matter how many years you have been smoking, quitting has immediate positive benefits. It might not be easy, but it is good for your health. Quitting smoking today will also lower your risks of lung cancer and heart diseases.
9. Improve your blood sugar
Diabetes occurs when the body is unable to produce enough insulin or is unable to use it correctly. It can lead to heart attack and stroke. Studies are also showing that it is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Taking diabetes medications and adopting a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of neurodegenerative diseases if you have type 2 diabetes.
- You can improve your blood sugar by:
- Increasing fiber intake
- Exercising regularly
- Drinking more water
- Managing your carbs intake
- Choosing foods that are low in glycemic index
- Eating foods that are rich in magnesium and chromium
10. Improve your blood pressure
High blood pressure can affect the brain. The major risk factors of high blood pressure and heart diseases are stroke, which damage the brain. Keeping your blood pressure and cholesterol levels under control is essential for both your heart and brain.
Hypertension patients and those with other cardiovascular diseases should check with their health care provider regularly. That can help them know how to manage their condition, which will lower their risks of developing a stroke. Remember, what is good for the heart is good for the brain.