I am asked a lot about treating dementia and other brain health questions. While there is a lot one can do to help limit the amount of issues later in life, the best time to treat your brain is now, before you have symptoms. Here are some fun, helpful brain-saving tips to help you stay happy, healthy and alert well into your older years.
What can I do to keep my brain healthy as I age?
There are no cures for the diseases that cause dementia and mental wasting. For Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig’s and the other devastating diseases, we have to focus on prevention. You may not have put prevention of these things on the forefront of your mind, but today is the day to do so. How you may ask? By incorporating a few simple things into your day. It is no wonder that the every day things you can do to prevent these diseases also have the side effect of improving your brain function.
Here are 12 things you can do daily to keep your brain healthy:
1. Exercise regularly: Exercising your body oxygenates your brain, keeping your cells happy.
2. Hydration: Drink half of your body weight in ounces in order to keep all of your cells, brain cells included, optimally hydrated.
3. Do something stimulating: Read a book, play puzzles, anything to keep your brain working hard.
4. Think happy thoughts: 80% of self-talk is negative. Instead, give yourself a compliment!
5. Surf the internet: The internet keeps your mind moving, constantly learning new things.
6. Eat brain food: The nutrients that are most important for your brain include vitamins A, B, C, E, Magnesium, Zinc and amino acids. Most of these you should be able to get if you eat lots of vegetables. That said, this is one of the many reasons that we give a liquid B-vitamin supplement to most patients.
7. Load up on fish oils: Omega 3 fatty acids are an important part of nerve cells.
8. Eat herbs: Taking herbs like gingko and ginseng can optimize your brain’s function. Be sure to discuss the appropriate dose with your doctor.
9. Learn something new on a regular basis: Challenge yourself to learn a new language, how to knit, how to do whatever it is you have always want to do. When you have accomplished that task, start a new one!
10. Don’t waste your time: Even while you are resting you can do breathing exercises (see #1), or read a book (see #3).
11. Sleep: Sleeping 8 hours a night is important in order to let your brain rest and digest your day. A lot of important things get processed while you sleep.
12. Have sex.