Looking to increase your brain health? Here are a few suggestions

Looking to increase your brain health? Here are a few suggestions

While I’ve been teaching the dining with diabetes classes this past month, I’ve been reminded just how beneficial eating a well balanced diet can be for our overall health.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, “Eating a heart-healthy diet benefits both your body and your brain. In general, this is a diet that focuses on foods that are less processed and lower in fat, along with more vegetables and leaner meats and proteins.”

We probably think most often about the immediate impact of the foods we eat. Like how they make us feel (satisfied, bloated, hungry, etc.) or whether we gain weight. It seems more difficult to think about how the foods and beverages we consume will eventually affect our cholesterol and blood pressure and blood glucose levels. This is probably because these outcomes are not seen as quickly.

It can be even more of a stretch to think on a regular basis about how the things we eat effect our likelihood of developing chronic disease or cognitive decline. High blood pressure is a leading cause of heart disease and stroke. Over time, high blood pressure puts too much stress on blood vessels. Research shows having uncontrolled high blood pressure in midlife raises the risk for dementia later in life.

In addition to a healthy diet, the Alzheimer’s Association suggests these other healthy habits to increase our brain health:

Challenge your mind – Some people are naturally curious, while others must work at it. Put your brain to work and do something that is new for you. Each season, aim to learn one new skill or further develop an existing skill. If you are typically mechanically minded, then try something artistic. And likewise, if art comes more naturally for you, try building something with directions. Challenging your mind may have short- and long-term benefits for your brain.

Stay in school – Education reduces the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. This starts at a young age and continues. Try taking a class at our local library or join an online class about a topic you are interested in. Consider joining a book club.

Get moving – Engage in regular physical activity. You want to raise your heart rate and increase blood flow to the brain and body. How can you build more movement into your day? Leslie Mayle, registered dietitian at Coshocton Regional Medical Center, is a big fan of YouTube. You can find all sorts of helpful videos to increase physical activity, even while seated. Chair yoga, Silver Sneakers classes, balance exercises and many more are available for free viewing.

Protect your head – Help prevent an injury to your head. Wear a helmet for activities like biking and wear a seatbelt in vehicles. Do what you can to prevent falls by getting rid of throw rugs, eliminating clutter on floors and watching out for pets underfoot.

Be smoke free – The World Health Organization estimated in 2014 that 14% of dementia cases worldwide may be caused by smoking. An analysis in 2015 of more than 30 published studies found current smokers are 30% more likely to develop dementia and 40% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people who do not smoke. Quitting smoking can lower the risk of cognitive decline back to levels like those who have not smoked. It’s never too late to stop smoking.

Sleep well – Quality sleep is important for brain health. Is your bedroom a peaceful place? Make your space as comfortable as possible and establish a routine for bedtime that does not involve electronic screens like television, tablets or phones.

Today, I’ll leave you with this quote from Dr. Seuss: “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”

Emily Marrison is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 740-622-2265.

Read more at www.yahoo.com

Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Nature Knows Nootropics