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6 ways to keep your brain young

Aging is a complex process that affects your entire organism bringing new challenges to both your body and mind.

We often focus on fighting physical signs of aging, such as wrinkles or decreased mobility, and sometimes forget that caring about our brain health is equally (if not more) important.

But while mental decline is a common part of the aging process, it’s in your power to keep your brain young and sharp for longer, enjoying life to the fullest at any age.

Let’s look at 6 ways how you can fight brain aging and keep your memory and cognitive function in good shape.

1. Get a healthy diet

What you eat affects how you age, and that includes both physical and mental aging. A proper diet can enhance your memory and concentration and reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nourish your body with healthy foods rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin B12 – studies show that the deficiency in these nutrients has a negative effect on brain function, and that you can reduce the risk of cognitive decline by taking omega-3s and vitamin B12 supplements.

In general, eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Drink more water and green tea. At the same time, limit or avoid altogether the consumption of red meat, dairy products, alcohol, and sugary drinks.

Photo by Edgar Castrejon on Unsplash

2. Keep your blood sugar in check

Studies demonstrate that diabetes as well as prediabetes can facilitate cognitive decline and increase the risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer's dementia.

To prevent diabetes, you need to maintain a healthy weight, follow a healthy diet, and exercise regularly – basically, all those things that you need to do anyway to keep your body and mind healthy. If you suspect that you already have diabetes, consult with your health practitioner.

3. Exercise regularly

Regular physical activity can do wonders for your whole body, and your brain is not an exception. By staying physically active, you can keep your working memory, attention, and mental functioning in good shape at any age.

For example, studies show that older adults who exercise regularly maintain better cognitive performance than those who have sedentary lifestyles.

Get regular aerobic training, such as running and swimming, to improve memory and prevent the decline in cognitive performance.

Photo by Talahria Jensen on Unsplash

4. Keep your blood pressure in check

High blood pressure is another factor that can negatively affect your brain health.

One study highlights that it’s important to start managing your blood pressure as early as possible for decreasing the risk of age-related cognitive decline, even if you don’t have clinical hypertension.

Again, proper diet, regular physical activity, and stress management can help you maintain healthy blood pressure and avoid damage to your general health and cognitive function.

5. Get mental stimulation

Similar to your body, your brain needs its own regular exercise to stay healthy.

Your goal is to provide your brain with intellectual stimulation that will help it develop and build up new cells, no matter your age.

Choose challenging activities that require concentration, attention, and learning something new – for example, drawing, photography, or playing a musical instrument.

Research demonstrates that novel, demanding activities that involve building a new skill are the most effective for enhancing memory function in older adults.

Photo by Vitae London on Unsplash

6. Get social

Socializing has a brain-stimulating effect, so building strong meaningful relationships and social ties can be very beneficial for your cognitive health.

For example, studies show that having larger social networks can help maintain proper cognitive function and even decrease the risk of dementia in elderly women.

Engage in social activities, meet with your friends and family more often, and keep your relationships meaningful.

You can also spend time with pets, especially dogs, and enjoy positive effects on your brain health and mental state.

While aging depends on a bunch of factors that you can’t control, such as genetics, your own daily choices also play an important role in how you age – both physically and mentally. Developing a healthy lifestyle can help you fight brain aging, maintain good cognitive function, keep your memory sharp, and even prevent Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

Cover photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Julia Stecher is an award-winning fitness model, professional nutritionist, and certified personal trainer who provides personal training services in Zurich and online.

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