10 Things to Know and Do for Brain Health

You’ve heard it before: TAKE A WALK or like this woman RUN!

Know the Enemy  

1.

2. Dementia affects 1% of people ages 60-64; dementia affects 30-50% of people over the age of 85.

3. Dementia means a person is fully conscious but brain functions are impaired including: areas of intellectual functioning like short-term memory and later long-term memory;  language and number usage; judgment and the ability to reason and solve problems; the ability to think abstractly; being fully aware of one’s environment.

4. The causes of dementia can include diseases like Alzheimer’s as well as strokes, serious infections, brain and head injuries, drugs, and nutritional deficiencies.  Depending on the cause, some forms of dementia can be stopped and reversed

5. The symptoms of dementia range from early: short-term memory loss, difficulty with word usage and familiar tasks; intermediate: long-term memory loss and worsening disorientation; severe: loss of long-term memory and short-term memory with complete dependence on someone else for activities of daily living.

Now the Good News

6. The medical community uses the term benign senescent forgetfulness to refer to losing your keys or forgetting someone’s name.  It is a normal part of aging—mental processes work more slowly.

7. There is no miracle brain diet, but good nutrition is vital to overall health and protects us from developing chronic conditions that increase dementia risk.  Eating right also maintains healthy weight and fights belly fat, another risk to brain health.  Suggested foods for brain health: blueberries, pomegranate juice, wild salmon, nuts and seeds, whole grains, beans, avocados, and dark chocolate.

8. Studies show that staying intellectually challenged will reduce memory impairment by 63%.  Do puzzles and games, but in a set amount of time.  Learn a new language to use your memory or work with the one you know—play word games, read challenging articles and books.

9. Enjoy yourself.  Some docs in the British Medical Journal found that pleasant activities like watching a film, or attending a concert or an art show arouses the immune system and helps fight off viruses and illness.

10.  And you’ve heard this one before: take a walk.  Immobility is truly a killer on all levels.  Your body demands that you use it or you lose it.  Keep active.  Physical activity helps control chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, and bad backs.  Move it!

What do you do to help your brain health?  Please share!

Read this post about dementia for more insights; read this post about the drugs often given to dementia patients;

 

Blueberries are brainberries.

11 thoughts on “10 Things to Know and Do for Brain Health

  1. When your plate is full and you feel you have no time to do it all, taking time for prayer and physical activity can actually make room to get it all done.

    Your writing keeps us Boomers on track. Love those blueberries in my oatmeal. Did I really say oatmeal? …yes…

    • I like that you added prayer, Meditation and prayer allows time for the mind to quiet itself and a steady diet of this is great for brain health. Thanks for your support. I love oatmeal AND blueberries. Did you ever try McGann’s steel-cut oatmeal? It takes a while to make but you can store what you don’t eat that day in the frig. Delicious. Beth

  2. Dark Chocolate? That will get lots of attention.
    I truly believe physical activity is one of the key elements in keeping the body doing its best at any age. Do only what you can without overdoing it, but get out there and DO IT!!! Years from now you will be happy you did….Thanks for this Boomer Highway, I think I will begin to learn to play piano!!!!!!

  3. Actually that’s a really good idea. Learning a new skill is great for brain health. I fuss about changes in Twitter and mail programs etc, but they challenge me to adjust. Doing the same thing over and over makes for a lazy brain.

    In nursing school one of the main things stressed was the importance of mobility. You learn that a broken hip can be repaired but it’s the immobility that can lead to side effects and death. Keep moving! And thanks. Beth

  4. Stress can also impact brain function, so it’s important to learn techniques to deal with each new crop of stressors.

    The brain gets bored, so your comment about learning new skills and drinking in new experiences is vital to not only optimal brain health, but also overall health.

    Speaking of resources, I’ve just picked up Marilu Henner’s book entitled “Total Memory Makeover.”

  5. Thanks for the reference: Marilu Henner’s TOTAL MEMORY MAKEOVER.

    I love the idea that brains are healthier if exposed to new experience, new challenges, even some mental stressors. Yet balance is required, as you point out. Too much stress is never good for overall health.

    Thanks for your comments, they are always so helpful. Beth

  6. Sobering facts, but an inspiring finish! Must go tweet it…..then head out for my walk. Timely and important post, Beth. Thank you.

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