Keep Your Cognitive Edge With These Eight Tips
Unfortunately, for some people getting older can mean cognitive decline.
Brain fog. An inability to focus. Memory loss.
Or worse, age-related cognitive diseases like Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s.
For years, most experts thought that cognitive decline was an inevitable part of the aging process. The problem with this thinking is that it never took into consideration the many seniors who stay mentally sharp into their 80s and beyond.
More recently, thanks to breakthroughs in brain research, experts are now understanding that there are many healthy brain “best practices” that can help the vast majority of us maintain healthy brain function to an advanced age.
Here are some ways you can stay mentally sharp as you get older:
Your brain, like any organ, needs the support of your cardiovascular system to receive nutrients and remove waste products.
Regular exercise (at least 5 days per week) helps your heart to stay strong so it can support your brain (and your other vital organs).
A mix of cardio and resistance training will provide the best results. This can be as simple as a 30-minute walk combined with some weight training.
People are social animals. Our brains need contact with other humans to stay sharp and avoid depression.
These other humans can be friends or family. They can be people you see every day, or once a week, or once a month. Get together for coffee, a movie, or relax over a glass of wine. Whatever works for you.
The important thing is that interactions with other people stimulate your brain cells to stay healthy and preserve cognitive ability.
#3. Play Games
If you’re getting together with a group of friends, what better choice could there be than a game of cards or a board game?
You can also play games on your phone or do puzzles if you’re on your own.
Games of any kind help to limit cognitive decline and keep your mind sharp.
#4. Read Constantly
If you don’t feel like seeing other people or playing games, pick up a good book instead.
Studies have shown that reading slows down age-related cognitive decline and protects you from diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
#5. Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet
Foods that contribute to your neurological health are known as nootropics. Some good examples include:
- Berries (rich in antioxidants, which protect against oxidative stress)
- Fatty fish (contain omega-3 fatty acids, which support blood flow and cognitive function)
- Nuts and seeds (contain vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant)
- Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, and broccoli (rich in brain-healthy vitamins and minerals)
- Whole grains (high in fiber to support blood flow to the brain)
- Dark chocolate (contains antioxidants called flavonoids, plus caffeine and theobromine, which support alertness and focus)
- Coffee (contains flavonoids and caffeine)
Adding these and other nootropics to your diet can help to preserve cognitive ability.
#6. Use Brain-Healthy Supplements
Not a fan of nootropic foods? You can get the same benefits from brain-friendly supplements. Look for:
- Antioxidants (vitamins A, C, D, E; and omega-3s)
- Minerals (magnesium, zinc, iron, chromium, and selenium)
#7. Stay Hormone-Healthy
Loss of cognitive function, short-term memory loss, and brain fog can all be at least partially tied to a loss of estrogen production by women during menopause.
Men losing testosterone and estrogen with increasing age has the same effects.
Loss of other important hormones due to age, such as thyroid and growth hormone, can also contribute to compromised cognition as you get older.
Renew Youth can confirm whether your hormones are out of balance and can oversee hormone replacement using bioidentical hormones for best results.
Your adrenal glands produce the hormone cortisol in response to stress. Long-term stress can cause excess cortisol production.
Too much cortisol causes oxidative stress and inflammation, especially to the prefrontal cortex of the brain. This can affect decision-making, short-term memory, and attention span.
The best solution is to manage stress using techniques such as deep-breathing, meditation, and yoga. If none of these are appealing, just find what helps you to relax.
You Only Have One Brain…Take Care of It!
Your brain is arguably the most important organ in your body. It controls virtually every bodily system needed to keep you alive.
The brain-healthy practices listed above can help you to keep your brain healthy, active, and acute no matter your age. For more information and suggestions, contact Renew Youth at 800-859-7511 or use our contact form to set up your free 30-minute consultation.