Brain Health Needs A Healthy Lifestyle

Posted on July 6th, 2015, by iMinerva

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At a certain age, memory seems to start slip-sliding away as dates, names, even words often go missing.  My excuse always is that I have too much information clogging my brain waves and, like my home computer, my storage capacity is on overload.  There actually is research comparing the brain to a computer with a massive amount of information filed away.  The more information there is, the longer it takes the brain to sort through the data to retrieve specific information requested.  There also is science that shows brain cells continue to regenerate so forget that old wife’s tale about “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”  Us old dogs are still frisky and constantly learning new tricks – like how to use a cell phone and talk to Siri…..  Though I do think Siri is hard of hearing as she and I are having trouble communicating.

The June issue of AARP has a good report on brain health issued in cooperation with the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine.  While it isn’t earth-shattering new news, it confirms much of what we have recently been told.

What’s good for your brain?

Exercise, especially aerobic exercise and strength training, for periods of at least 30 minutes.  Folks over 65 benefited greatly from an exercise program, even more so than their younger friends.

Social and intellectual stimulation keeps the brain challenged.  Read, learn a new language or skill, volunteer, play cards, go to church, socialize with your neighbors.  Activity helps recharge those brain cells.

Diet concentrating on nuts, beans, whole grains, vegetables and olive oil, and less meat, is both a heart-healthy and brain-happy plan.

Sound sleep habits are essential.  Sleep and breathing disorders, such as sleep apnea are known to affect cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s.

Heart health and brain health are closely connected as the blood stream feeds oxygen to the brain.  Keep control over blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes to keep your brain healthy.

What hurts your brain?

Depression, hearing and vision loss, stress and air pollution have been shown to have potential links to brain health problems. Medications, including antihistamines such as Benadryl, sleep meds such as Tylenol PM and certain antidepressants, may also put you at risk for dementia.

According to the report, the jury is out on the benefits of brain games and supplements such as B and D vitamins or ginkgo biloba.

The bottom – or top line is: Live a healthy, active lifestyle and don’t worry, be happy.

 

 

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