Brain health is the individual’s ability to perform all the cognitive activities including to plan, learn, remember, intuition, judgment by maintaining its mind clear and active. Human brain is most developed and most complex living organ on our planet, which is made up of hundreds of billion neurons connected through tiny gaps-Synapses. It is always working and changing itself as we advances in age (Brain Plasticity).
When a child brain gains 90% of size of an adult’s brain till the age of five years. After that different parts undergo radical changes and gain vivid understanding of language and spatial understanding. But after the age 0f 40 years, the human brain reduces in size and weight at the rate of 5% per decade but this rate increases after the age of 70 years. With these changes, mental decline is common with cognitive impairment. Memory lapses are the indication of cognitive decline which can occur at any stage of life. But in old age it leads to dementia (Memory loss).
I will share only 10 most important and most effective lifestyle measures which can be taken at any age.
1. Be careful of Brain Injuries
Dementia (Memory loss) and cognitive decline are significantly associated with brain injuries and memory loss. You can get trauma while playing (football etc.), driving without helmet, freefall weight drop. Studies have claimed that brain injuries either in childhood increase the risks of cognitive decline and dementia ten times. Most of the times it is short term memory loss which make your everyday experiences a nightmare of fuss. So you should wear helmet, seatbelt while driving and taking measures to prevent fall.
2. Reduce/ Lose Weight
If you are obese, your extra weight will affect your cognition and memory. Research has shown the fact there was less brain tissue and it looks older in obese people and obesity increases the rate of brain shrinking leading to corresponding mental activities loss. So it’s better to reduce your extra weight as early as possible.
- But a study revealed that quick weight loss especially after age of 60 years may be an indication of Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Among the individuals having same weight, who suffered with dementia early, lost his/her weight early.
So weight is double edge sword for your brain’s health. Neither should it be more, nor less.
3. Activate your Brain
“Once you stop learning, you start dying.”
Our brain works with the philosophy of “Use it or lose it”. It has been proved from research that novelty and learning stimulate our brain and brain responses with generation of “Cognitive reserves”. The more you stimulate, the bigger the cognitive circle. In fact when we stimulate our brain, new cells and connections develop which make up the cell loss in future.
You can shape your brain by taking following “mental gymnastics”:
- Learning: learning a new language, browsing and internet surfing with a specific purpose, course, musical instrument, math problems, join a book club,
- Games: Sudoku, crossword or jigsaw puzzles, chess, bridge, cards
- Art: music, drawing, painting and crafts, new dance
4. Interact with people
Only ten minutes of gossips with your buddy reduce your stress hormone (cortisol) level and blood pressure and improve your memory significantly. Social interaction delays the process of cognitive decline and those who do not socialize and adopt exclusion, they are at high risk of developing dementia. So,
- Stay connected with your family and friends
- Purse meaningful social activities
- Make your way to be vibrant part of your community (by rendering volunteer services)
Loneliness is silent killer for your memory.
5. Nap Right
Seven to nine hours nap keeps your brain young. Sleep activity allows your brain to consolidate your new memories, wash out toxins and refresh your cognitive process. It has been observed that individuals lose attention and concentration when they do not catch proper Zzz’s. Keep four keys with you to sleep well.
- Don’t stuff your belly with big meals
- Early to bed and early to rise (time should be same for your circadian cycle)
- Don’t smoke before bed
- Don’t consume alcohol before bed
6. Healthy Diet intake: Eat smart, Be smart
“Let thy food, thy medicine.”
Epidemiological studies suggested that diet is the best medicine for preventing memory loss and cognitive decline. Professor Argye Hillis from Johns Hopkins Medicine says that people using Mediterranean diet are twenty percent less likely to develop dementia and other memory losses.
Try to use diet in following order
- Always: use more fruits, vegetables, whole grain, olive oil, beans, nuts, legumes, seed and nuts, herbs and spices (good source of Anti-oxidants, Vitamins C, B6, B12, Folic acid and minerals.
- Often:use fish and sea food (good source of vitamin A and Omega-3 fatty acids)
- Moderately: use poultry eggs, cheese and dairy products
- Less often: Meet and Sweet
For more details of diet and memory connection you can go through Harvard Health Publication
READ: Good food for the brain
7. Exercise and Physical activity: Be fit, Be smart
A RCT study illustrates that Exercise averts memory loss, and render protective effects for healthy brain functioning and improve cognitive functioning. When you engage yourself in sweat breaking activities, blood flow improves and new blood vessels develop in your brain besides improving heart health, diabetes and obesity.
8. Assess your Medical Health
You should keep an eye on your health status and undergo regular checkups for:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Cholesterol level
- BMI (body mass index)
These all cardiovascular risk factors affect your brain health and memory loss. These factors can aggravate mental decline leading to dementia. So be aware of all and follow the suggestions of your physician meticulously.
9. Lowers for brain health
You should be careful about your mental health. So lower:
- Alcohol consumption (consume as low as possible)
- Tobacco/ Nicotine use in any form (preferably quit smoking)
- Stress (kickback chronic stress by meditation, yoga or massage)
- Anxiety and depression (be social to lower it)
10- Tea, coffee and other supplements
Tea has “L-Theanine” and coffee contains “caffeine”. Both of these chemicals are brain boosters and sharpen your memory. Green tea has an antioxidant detoxify beta-amyloid (toxic substance which kills the brain cells). These chemicals are used in brain boosters or dietary supplements also known as Nootropics e.g. Provasil. So if your daily dietary intake of anti-oxidants, vitamins and brain-stimulant is insufficient according to your mental activities, you must use some supplements like Provasil which is a dietary and nutritional supplement for enhancing mental performance.
No need to worry about Memory loss because myriad studies have claimed that cognitive decline can be delayed by taking different measures. These 10 methods shared are very effective.