Memory loss is to be expected as we age. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are tons of simple things you can do to keep your mind as sharp as a whip. Keep reading to discover things every senior citizen should know regarding how to keep your mind sharp.
How Our Brains Change As We Age
Change is one of the only constants in life. As we age, the volume of our brain shrinks gradually. With this change in brain structure, some of the nerve cells shrink and they can lose connections with other nerve cells. When the nerve cells in your brain die, dementia occurs. This cognitive condition is characteristic of two or more core brain functions being impaired, like memory, language skills, the ability to pay attention and focus or visual perception.
How to Keep Your Mind Sharp: 6 Tips
Do not Smoke or Drink to Excess
You have probably heard that a glass or two of red wine nightly can reduce the risk of cancer. However, research is still being done to verify the validity of this claim. What is important is that you drink only in moderation and kick the cigarettes if you smoke. Both smoking and excess drinking increase your risk of dementia.
Staying physically active helps maintain blood flow to your brain. According to a 2015 study published in the Annals of Medicine, regular vigorous exercise is excellent for mitigating the risk of dementia. Even consistent moderate exercise can help you maintain an ideal blood pressure level. This is critical in preventing the development of dementia.
Nutrients that help to prevent dementia include vitamin E, each of the B vitamins and omega-3 fatty acids. Research also discovered strong evidence that avoiding saturated fat decreases the risk of dementia. Neuroprotective foods include berries, seafood, green leafy vegetables and other vegetables.
Try the DASH (dietary approaches to stop hypertension) or Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is full of healthy fats from olive oil, omega-3 fatty acids from fish and vegetables. The DASH diet reduces high blood pressure which prevents dementia. The core of this diet is fruits and vegetables, lean meats, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy.
Regulate Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure
High levels of bad cholesterol and hypertension are known to increase your risk of heart attacks, heart disease and stroke. These medical conditions, in turn, can lead to the development of certain types of dementia. A significant part of maintaining or improving cognitive function is good cardiovascular health, such as regulating your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Stimulate Your Brain
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one of the best things you can do to prevent dementia is engaging in mentally stimulating activities. Such stimulating activities can range from knitting a hat for a baby to completing the crossword puzzles and number puzzles in the back of the newspaper every day.
Paint a Picture
Painting, drawing and doodling are all excellent ways to prevent dementia. You do not need to be Georgia O’Keeffe to paint a flower. Simply grab some paper, paint and a paint brush and start.
But you don’t have to paint if you don’t want to. Draw the nighttime cityscape with charcoal. Sketch a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow with a drafting pencil and fill it in with oil pastels. No matter your preferred medium, art is a great way to improve your creativity and memory, maintain dexterity in your hands and increase your emotional intelligence.
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