Just as the body changes over time and things like joint pain and muscle stiffness set in, the brain also changes. It’s natural to become forgetful with age and to have a slower problem-solving time. Take charge of brain health with these five ways to keep your mind sharp at any age.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Lifestyle choices play a large role in brain health. Regular use of prescription and over-the-counter medications could lead to a higher risk of dementia over the years. Binge drinking easily causes blackouts, and long-term excessive drinking shrinks the frontal lobe which causes memory problems and thought impairment. Smoking cigarettes thins the brain’s cortex, which is where thought, memory, and language is processed. This thinning occurs naturally with age but smoking cigarettes speeds up the process.
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Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet
Eating a brain-healthy diet helps to keep the mind sharp. Vitamin E, B vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids are believed to help prevent dementia. There is also evidence that leafy green vegetables, berries, and seafood protect the brain. The Mediterranean diet—focused on vegetables, healthy fats, and omega-3 fatty acids from fish—also protects against dementia.
Get Enough Sleep and Exercise
The average adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep each night. While the body is asleep, the brain is busy forming memories, making decisions, learning new tasks, and cleaning toxins. Too little sleep raises the risk of high blood pressure, obesity, and dementia.
Physical activity keeps both the body and the mind healthy. 20 minutes of daily aerobic exercise and strength training can improve cognitive function. Exercise can be any activity that works up a sweat at least five times a week. Exercising maintains blood flow to the brain and lowers the risk of high blood pressure which is linked to developing dementia.
Keep the Brain Stimulated
The best way to keep the mind active is to keep it stimulated. Doing tasks or activities that are mentally stimulating helps build cognitive function. Learning new skills keeps the mind active and may reduce age-related cognitive changes. Engaged brains are associated with improved processing speed. Socializing, listening to music, playing an instrument, or building puzzles use brainpower. The more complex skills learned the higher the boost to brain function.
Games are a fun way to keep the brain stimulated, whether board games, card games, charades, or console games. Newegg’s online video game stores have a huge selection of PC and Mac games and the hottest console systems. Gamers can find bundled combinations, portable systems, thousands of game titles, and plenty of accessories.
Caffeine and New Foods
Caffeine is known to have some positive health benefits and it is thought that caffeine plays a role in protecting the brain. Enjoying two to four cups of coffee daily may fend off natural cognitive decline and lower the risk of Alzheimer’s. These benefits are thanks to either caffeine or the antioxidants contained in coffee and tea.
Keep the brain healthy by having new experiences to help it fight off the effects of aging. When the brain detects new aromas it creates associations and feelings that stimulate the senses of smell, taste, and sight. Get adventurous with eating new foods. Expand the cuisine palette by finding recipes to make fresh at home. When grocery shopping for ingredients, pay attention to and smell the seasonings, spices, vegetables, proteins, and garnishes related to the cuisine.