Staying healthy as you age is just as important as living longer. Although it is not always a choice, enjoying a longer life with good health makes it more worthwhile. Keeping your brain and mind healthy is just as important because they also can deteriorate faster if you do not take steps to keep them in good shape.
The brain is like a muscle and must be used to keep it healthy. The old saying about muscles is also true about the brain: if you don’t use it – you lose it. Your brain needs to be kept active with brain health exercises – not passive ones – which occurs when you watch TV.
Here are some essential things you need to do to keep your brain healthy for as long as possible.
A lot is said today about the importance of exercise. Your body functions best when you exercise regularly. It gets the blood flowing, which brings nourishment to your whole body and strengthens your immune system. It also helps keeps the muscles strong.
Exercise benefits your brain because it reduces inflammation and insulin resistance. It also encourages the production of growth factors, which helps keep brain cells healthy, helps new ones grow, and helps develop new blood vessels in the brain.
Feeling better is also a result of an exercise program that speeds up the heart – such as aerobics. Hormones are produced as you exercise that can help reduce depression. It also helps with being able to focus and developing a strong memory – partly because it enlarges the hippocampus part of your brain.
Working out also helps to keep the brain healthy. It does this by helping to reduce problems that can harm the brain like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and depression. People who exercise have more brain matter than those who do not, which reveals a healthy brain.
Eating a Healthy Diet
Your cells and organs need good nutrition to be in their best state. Your blood vessels are also made stronger and healthier by exercise and a good diet. The better blood flow to the brain also helps to reduce – and possibly even stop – the buildup of plaque in the brain. It is this buildup in the brain that leads to dementia in many people.
The Mediterranean diet is believed to be the best diet for a healthy brain. Those who follow this diet seem to have a smaller chance of developing Alzheimer’s. It provides the best foods for brain health. The key, so far, seems to be the omega fatty acids in the diet, which help cell function, slow mental decline and increases your ability to focus.
Get More Sleep
The amount of sleep you get each night also helps determine brain health. During the day, unhealthy proteins normally buildup in your brain, but they are removed while you sleep.
The right amount of sleep – seven to eight hours a night – also helps you feel refreshed. Your body and mind are more energized to focus on the demands of the day.
When you sleep less than the recommended amount, you will likely feel more tired throughout the day. If you do not feel refreshed – no matter how long you stay in bed – sleep apnea may be the cause. This problem will prevent you from falling into REM sleep – which is where you get refreshed. You need to see a doctor if that problem is suspected.
Keeping your brain healthy is not going to happen by accident. Start today to begin eating healthy and get into an exercise program – about 30 minutes a day for five days a week. You will likely see a difference in brain function before long.