A mind skilled shares his 7 ‘arduous guidelines’ for reinforcing reminiscence and preventing off dementia
The typical human mind shrinks by about 5% per decade after age 40. This will have a serious affect on reminiscence and focus.
As well as, mind issues are on the rise. In 2020, 54 million individuals worldwide suffered from Alzheimer’s illness or different dementias, and this quantity is anticipated to extend.
However extreme psychological decline would not should be an inevitable a part of growing older. Actually, some life-style elements have a better affect than your genes on the event of memory-related illnesses.
As a neuroscientist, listed here are seven strict guidelines I observe to maintain my mind sharp and combat dementia.
1. Maintain blood stress and ldl cholesterol underneath management
Your coronary heart beats about 115,000 occasions a day, and with every beat, it sends about 20% of your physique’s oxygen to your mind.
Hypertension can weaken the guts muscle and is among the main causes of stroke. Ideally, your blood pressure should not exceed 120/80.
Cholesterol is also essential for the health of your brain and nervous system. The American Heart Association recommends having your cholesterol levels checked every four to six years.
2. Manage sugar levels
Blood sugar is the brain’s main fuel. Not enough and you have no energy; too much, and you can destroy blood vessels and tissues, leading to premature aging and cardiovascular diseases.
Keep in mind that sugar is not an enemy, excess sugar is. It’s easy for grams of sugar to add up, even if you think you’re being careful — and usually, sugar sneaks into packaged foods.
Where is the sugar hidden? Look for these in the ingredient list:
And beware of any product that contains syrup, such as agave nectar syrup or high fructose corn syrup.
3. Get quality sleep
Studies show that people with untreated sleep apnea increase their risk of memory loss on average 10 years before the general population.
For most people, a healthy brain needs seven to nine hours of sleep per night.
My tips for sleep that boosts memory and strengthens the immune system:
- Keep a consistent bedtime and wake-up schedule.
- Turn off devices an hour before bedtime.
- Do something relaxing before bedtime, like listening to soft music or doing mindful breathing exercises.
- Get outside and into natural sunlight as soon as you can after waking up.
4. Eat a nutritious diet
One way to keep things simple is to have most, if not all, of these items in my grocery cart:
- Fatty fish like salmon
- Cruciferous vegetables like arugula, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and collard greens
When I shop, I ask myself three questions to determine if something is good for my brain:
1. Will it spoil? In many cases, perishables are a good thing. Additives and preservatives that keep foods from spoiling wreak havoc on your gut bacteria.
2. Are there tons of ingredients in this packaged food? And by the way, can you pronounce the ingredients? Or does this sound like the stuff of a chemical experiment? Also avoid anything that has sugar as one of the first ingredients.
3. Do you see a rainbow on your plate? The chemicals that give fruits and vegetables their bright colors help boost brain health.
5. Don’t smoke (and avoid second-hand and third-hand smoke)
Then there’s third-hand smoke, which isn’t actually smoke. It is the residue of cigarette smoke that creates the telltale smell on clothing or in a room. This residue alone can emit chemicals that are toxic to the brain.
6. Make social connections
In a recent study, people over the age of 55 who regularly attended dinner parties or other social events had a less risk of memory loss. But it wasn’t because of what they ate, it was the effect of repeated social bonding.
To reduce isolation and loneliness, you can also boost brain chemicals like serotonin and endorphins by performing small acts of kindness:
- Wish others good luck or contact someone.
- Give a compliment without expecting anything in return.
- Make a phone call to someone you don’t normally reach.
7. Continually learn new skills
Maintaining a good memory isn’t just about brain games like Sudoku, Wordle, and crosswords.
Learning skills and acquiring information are much more effective ways to make new connections in the brain. The more connections you make, the more likely you are to retain and even improve your memory.
When you think about learning something new, approach it like you would physical training. You want to work different muscles on different days. The same goes for the brain.
During this week, try training your brain by mixing mental activities (learning a new language or reading a book) and physical learning activities (playing tennis or soccer).
Marc MilsteinPhD, is a brain health expert and author of “The Aging Brain: New Strategies to Improve Memory, Protect Immunity, and Combat Dementia.” He earned his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and his BSc in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCLA, and has conducted research in genetics, cancer biology, and neuroscience. Follow him on Twitter and instagram.
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