Top 6 Ways to Keep Your Brain Young

IMG_0643.jpg

What comes to mind when you think about the idea of “staying young?” Do you think of your skin care regime, or physical abilities such as running along-side little ones? Today I’ll share tactical ways to keep our brain young through daily activities and choices we make.

This is a topic near and dear to my heart as my grandma (aka Grandy), whom I’ve written about before, suffered from dementia for the last 10 years of her life. It’s a disease I didn’t fully understand until I watched it progress, slowly taking away the Grandy I love so dearly. It’s a brutal and progressive disease, both for the patient and all their loved ones. For this reason I’m passionate about learning & understanding how to keep our brains strong & healthy as we age.

Below I’ll share the top areas to focus on to optimize your brain health. This research is based on a Harvard study, and I absolutely love the holistic view of the recommendations. Without further ado, here’s the top 6 list:

Emotional Wellbeing:

  • Do you care for your emotions or push them aside to deal with later? Do you listen to what your mind and body are asking for? Anxiety, depression, sleep-deprivation and exhaustion are all contributors to dementia. Consider the positive impact that caring for your emotions can have to improve your cognitive function.

    Community:

  • According to the Harvard research study, having a strong social network has been linked to lowered cases of dementia, blood pressure and a longer life expectancy.

    Nutrition:

  • A diet focused on vegetables, fruits, nuts, healthy fats and plant based proteins are more likely to keep the brain young. Consider a Mediterranean diet which incorporates all these elements. In addition, take into account your alcohol intake, as it’s a major risk factor for dementia.

    Mental Stimulation:

  • What if you could build new connections between nerve cells and possibly even help your brain generate new cells? If you’re able to do this you can set yourself up for success in fighting the natural aging process of your brain. This is doable, and one of the simplest ways is to engage in mentally stimulating activities. It’s important to remember, while we work out our bodies it’s just as important to give our brain a workout. Consider word puzzles or math problems, or take a step out of your comfort zone and engage your creative side. Coloring, painting, crafts and drawing are all incredible ways to engage your brain. If you’re curious about creativity, check out my top read blog, 6 ways to tap into your creativity.

    Exercise:

  • Harvard research is supporting the belief that by exercising your muscles it will positively impact your brain. Exercise increases the connection between your nerve and brain cells, known as synapses. What does this mean for you? Overall your brain will function better by incorporating fitness! Exercise can also help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol, balance blood sugar and reduce stress - all great benefits to your brain.

    Blood Pressure:

  • High blood pressure has been linked to cognitive impairment later in life. There are certainly meditations to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. However, I’d also suggest considering the positive impact and change you can create from an exercise routine, stress reduction, limiting alcohol and eating a healthy diet.

I hope these insights help break down the key areas of our life where we can work to engage our brain and slow the aging process. Let me know which areas you’re excited to focus on by commenting below; I’d love to support your journey!

PS - If you’d like to learn more, I wrote a recent blog focused on using nutrition to help boost your brainpower. Check it out to learn more about the link between nutrition and brain health. The research is incredible and clearly shows the the impact food choices have on our brain.