Did you know that June is Alzheimer’s and brain health awareness month?
Alzheimer’s is a degenerative brain disease that causes memory problems, loss of speech and an eventual loss of bodily functions in older adults. Many people who get Alzheimer’s are genetically predisposed to it, or may have other risk factors such as poor diet, stress management or mental illness that can contribute to this disease. Don’t despair though, as there are things that you can do to help prevent or reduce the likelihood of getting this horrible disease and that can benefit the rest of your mental and physical health as well.
Keeping your brain healthy is important at every age, but it becomes more of a pressing concern the older you get. There are a number of factors that can improve your overall wellness, and some of those are eating healthy, whole foods, getting enough exercise, quitting smoking, staying hydrated and managing health conditions you may already have properly such as taking medications your doctor has prescribed, and taking supplements they may have recommended as well.
People of any age can benefit from keeping their brains healthy, and it’s never too late to begin taking steps to improve your brain health. Some of those steps are below.
5 Ways To Help Prevent Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease
Quit smoking. Quitting smoking, even if you’ve been a long-time smoker, can improve your brain and your body’s general health. When you quit smoking, you are likely to add years to your life, breathe more easily, have more energy, and save money. Quitting smoking lowers your risk of cancers, heart attacks, strokes and lung disease. It can also help you set a good example for your children and grandchildren, help your circulation and more. There is research to support that even if you’ve been smoking for decades, quitting will improve your health.
Keep your mind active. Keeping yourself intellectually engaged can have great benefits for your brain. Those who engage in meaningful activities such as volunteering or other hobbies they enjoy, report being happier and feeling more satisfied than those who don’t partake in activities they enjoy. Learning new skills such as a second language or creative writing, has been shown to keep the brain active, and boasting cognition.
Choosing to cook and consume healthy foods. There are many diets out there that claim they’re the best, but some of them have been studied and are some of the best for your health. Diets such as the Mediterranean diet, are high in brain healthy ingredients such as olive oil, fish, lean meats, and fresh fruits and vegetables and have been proven to improve cognition. For many healthy diets, there is a lot of truth to the saying “put good in and get good out.” A lot of healing happens from within, based on our lifestyles and diets. There has also been success with a combination of diets, such as the “MIND” and “DASH” diets.
Stay Social! Staying social’s star attribute is to your mental health. There have been studies done of how being lonely increases your chance of developing a neurodegenerative disease or dementia in the future, especially between the ages of 45-64. You can recover from loneliness or prevent it altogether by staying in touch with others and reaching out to new people whether it be during a fitness class, an art class, through social media, or over a meal. Signing up to volunteer or participating in other social activities such as church can help you be less lonely thus helping to prevent brain conditions.
For more information on protecting your brain and how to do so, we encourage you to check out our sources below.