Aging is inevitable but cognitive impairment is not.
We all age and the brain changes with age.
Along with many other things, brain health declines as a consequence of aging.
But we don't have to let nature take its course with no remorse. Brain besides being the thinker of your mind, it's the controller of all bodily functions.
It rules the beating of your heart, the breathing of your lungs, and up-keeping of all your organs.
To ensure richness of your life in the golden age, it's essential you keep your brain sharp and in the peak state.
Thankfully, there are simple things you can do today to boost your brain health.
In this article, I will list the top 5.
Here are 4 simple and easy ways to help boost your brain health and keep your mind sharp.
1. Eat a Diet Rich in Omega-3 Fatty Acids
A healthy diet is not just for people who want to lose weight and transform their bodies and health.
The foods you eat and base your diet on having a major effect on your brain health. It can improve everything from concentration, memory to learning abilities.
Fatty fish is particularly known for its benefits on brain power.
Fish oil known as omega-3 fatty acids build brain and nerve cells, which are essential for cognition. They also slow the aging-related mental decline and help prevent memory loss.
This doesn't come as a surprise since fat makes up about 60% of your brain. Half of which is omega-3 fatty acids (1).
Just as much as omega brings benefits, deficiency can lead to negative impacts.
According to research, omega 3s deficiency can lead to learning impairments and depression (2).
All in all, fatty marine omega 3s are essential in keeping your brain sharp.
To get this particular fish oil, add fatty fish like salmon and tuna into your diet twice a week.
2. Exercise Your Brain
You don't just lose muscles as you age. Your brain can atrophy too if you don't exercise your mind.
Your brain's ability to fight off neurological damage declines as we age. This makes performing even a simple mental task challenging.
But luckily we can exercise our brain and strengthen its abilities just as we exercise our body. By performing some targeted brain exercises regularly, you can improve cognitive reserve.
A practice like brushing your teeth with the opposite hand can stimulate the brain.
Practicing active learning can also be a targeted exercise. Picking up a new language and expanding vocabulary are just a few examples.
But the task doesn't have to be as daunting or heavy. It can be as simple as games.
Word puzzles like Sudoku, scrabbles, and crossword puzzles are just as effective.
If you are not a word wizards? That's ok too.
Popular card games like blackjack and poker can also work to exercise your brain.
Poker especially requires focus and in-depth thinking. It's one of the most difficult games to master, and the benefits of mastery are phenomenal.
In fact, this benefit is quoted in a 2009 French study (3).
They found playing poker drastically reduces the risk of brain-related diseases by 50%.
Leading Alzheimer’s researcher Dr. Jeffrey Cummings agrees with the study results.
This makes poker by far the best gaming genre to take part in maintaining a healthy brain.
To get the most out of this incredible brain boosting game, you must know how to play and master it. Here is a summary on how to play poker in 10 easy steps. Be sure to take a look at the terminology too.
It not only gives you the basic tips on playing poker but also prevents you from getting bust early on in the game.
3. Limit Your Drinking
Excessive drinking is a major risk factor for dementia.
One study from 2018 shows perpetual heavy drinking may lead brains to shrink in volume. They found brains of those who drink more than 14 drinks a week for 2 decades were 1.6% smaller. This is in comparison to non-drinkers' (4).
And that's not all the consequences.
For men, heavy drinking may also drive memory loss much earlier in life, per Neurology cited study (4).
This was shown in men who had 2.5 drinks or more a day.
Just as sugar has an addictive nature, you can build up a tolerance level for alcohol.
More you drink, more your sense of reward with few drinks wear off. Soon enough, you find yourself in need of more booze to get the same effect.
This is because alcohol causes the brain to lose part of its normal functioning. It damages and kills brain cells that may not grow back.
Dementia is lead by an inadequate supply of vitamin B1, thiamine. Alcohol rubs your ability to absorb thiamine and use an enzyme to convert it into an adaptive form (5).
While alcohol's immediate damage on the body is always more identifiable and visible.
Slurred speech and temporary loss of memory are two common effects to speak of. Yet more permanent, the cellular-level damage is less obvious and not as identifiable.
To keep your brain and your mind fresh and sharp, limit your drinking to a moderate level - 2 drinks a day.
4. Exercise Your Body
Just as much as brain stimulation exercises can boost your brain health, exercise can too.
Exercise is any activity that gets your body moving and your heart rate up.
These include running, resistance training, swimming, jump rope, walking and so on.
Research also shows different exercise has different effects on the brain (6).
Aerobic exercise known as cardio is particularly helpful in improving cognitive function. All while resistance training can enhance memory and executive function.
Generally speaking, researchers recommend 45 minutes to one hour of moderate intensity exercise.
Research shows exercise increases the blood flow to the brain.
This increased streams of blood are extremely important for the brain health. This is because blood flow brings both much-needed nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
To increase your brain function and prevent memory loss, start exercising daily.
5. Get Adequate Sleep
Last but not least, one of the key aspects of improving brain health is sleep. Sleep provides your brain the time to consolidate memory and regenerate cells.
Without adequate sleep, your brain spends much of the day running on fatigue.
Like our physical state, a stressed, tired, and over-stimulated brain lacks performance. By establishing a good and effective sleep pattern, you get to start off on a clean slate each day with fresh energy and well functioning brain.
A recent discovery also reveals that the brain uses the sleep time to conduct a mini detox (7).
During sleep, the brain sits in a fluid that flows between cells and works to remove waste. It washes away the build-up of toxic proteins to the liver for discharge.
This process is said to make your brain smarter, healthier, and perkier when awake.
To get adequate sleep, be sure to secure 6-8 hours of quality sleep at night.
As you age, it's natural for your brain to change and lose its sharpness.
It's essential that you make it a central mission to keep your brain healthy and sharp.
The brain health tips listed above will enhance its cognitive function. Additionally, it will help reduce the risk of brain-related diseases as you age.
Simply put, brain health is all about making small changes in your daily lives that boost it.
Add these five small changes to your lifestyle to improve your brain health and keep your mind sharp.