Maintaining a high level of brain function can become a concern for many as they age. If you are looking for ways to support healthy brain aging there are many simple actions you can take to safeguard your brain as you enter the later stages of life.
Change Your Diet
Eating a healthy diet is important at any age, but it becomes even more so for older adults. This is also a perfect time to consider including quality brain health supplements into your routine.
You should aim to reduce the number of processed foods you take in and increase your intake of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats. One diet that many physicians suggest for the aging sector is the Mediterranean Diet due to the high level of omega fatty acids and healthy plant-based meals. The Mediterranean Diet is one of the best known and popular diets in the world and you can find extensive resources online and in bookstores to help you get started on adopting it. The mayoclinic.org suggests the MIND diet which is a combination of the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH diet known for helping with hypertension.
The physical benefits of regular exercise are well-known, but it is also true that exercise is good for the brain. According to the Cleveland Clinic, exercise increases both oxygen and blood flow to the brain which is essential for memory. It also increases the number of new connections in the brain which is something that tends to decline with age. Exercise is also known to help decrease stress and increase levels of happiness, helping to combat age-related anxiety and depression.
Train Your Brain
Playing different types of games that target memory and cognition can increase brain health. If you’re comfortable with technology, there are many apps dedicated to brain games that stimulate different functions in the brain. If tech isn’t your thing that’s OK. Focus on some more traditional brain games like sudoku, crossword puzzles or chess. Any of these options challenge your ability to focus, solve problems, and use your memory.
Many studies over the years have attributed numerous physical and mental health benefits to the practice of mindfulness meditation. An article at realsimple.com outlines recent studies that indicate that this ancient form of meditation also has benefits for brain health. Studies show that people who practice mindfulness regularly show increased brain elasticity as well as a reduced level or cortical thinning. These benefits can lead to improvements in memory and the ability to process thoughts logically. Regular practice can also lead to a marked reduction in stress and anxiety.
Mindfulness meditation is easy to learn, simple to practice and resources are easy to find. You may also choose to take part in a specific training called mindfulness-based stress reduction or MBSR. This is an eight-week program that can be taken in-person or accessed remotely.
Try Something New
As people age, they can often get into a rote routine that provides little mental effort to maintain. Taking on new challenges activates parts of the brain and has been shown to provide protection against many neurological issues, including age-related dementia. According to healthnavigator.org, the process of learning new things can actually help the brain build new cells and make new connections.
It is essential to pay attention to your health as you age. There are many changes that you can make that will support your physical, mental and neurological functioning. Moving toward a healthy diet and supplementing that diet where needed is crucial. Additionally, adding workouts and activities that exercise both your body and your brain can help you age in a healthy way.