Our brain tends to change as we get older. Aging often affects memory, decreases the ability to pay attention, and causes problems with multi-tasking. Many old people also experience some brain changes that are associated with Alzheimer’s disease. If left ignored, the disease progresses and affects physical functions such as balance, swallowing, and ladder and bowel control. The good news is that you can prevent dementia and keep your brain healthy as you age.
Recent studies prove that certain lifestyle changes can significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease or any other type of dementia. These changes are also effective for those who already suffer from Alzheimer’s disease since they can help manage symptoms.
Learning new things stimulates brain function which may be helpful in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. It turned out that the ability to speak two languages helped delay the onset of three types of dementia such as vascular, frontotemporal, and mixed dementia. Bilingual people were diagnosed with dementia 4.5 years later than those who spoke only one language.
Social contact is a good way to prevent dementia. According to one study, having a lot of friends reduces the risk of dementia. This is due to the fact that social interactions activate neurons which improves brain function.
Alzheimer’s disease and depression are interconnected and often occur together. Depression affects memory, mood, and causes difficulties in organizing activities and making decisions which may result in vascular disease and dementia. Consult your primary care physician in order to get proper treatment and prevent health risks including Alzheimer’s disease.
A healthy diet helps manage weight as well as prevent heart and brain diseases. In addition to cognitive functions, your brain is responsible for the normal function of all your organs, that’s why it’s necessary to eat foods that maintain brain health.
What to eat to be healthier? Choose colorful foods since they are rich in antioxidants which naturally slow down the aging process.
Blue and purple fruits and vegetables (blackcurrant, blueberries, eggplant, and plums) contain anthocyanin pigment which helps us cope with stress. Eating blue and purple vegetables and fruits may also improve vision and strengthen the immune system.
Green vegetables and fruits (broccoli, avocado, spinach, pears, leafy greens, apples, and kiwi) have a beneficial effect on brain activity, normalize nervous and cardiovascular system function
Red fruits and vegetables (beets, raspberries, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, and pomegranates) can boost the immune system and improve the absorption of vital substances that you get from foods.
Omega-3 fatty acids are also essential for brain function since omega-3 deficiency is linked to early brain aging and a decrease in mental activity. That’s why it’s important to consume foods that are high in omega-3 acids. Here is a list of healthy foods you may add to your diet:
Chia seeds (5,060 mg per serving)
Salmon (4,123 mg per serving)
Mackerel (4,107 mg per serving)
Cod liver oil (2,682 mg per serving)
Walnuts (2,570 mg per serving)
Flax seeds (2,350 mg per serving)
Sardines (2,205 mg per serving)
Caviar (1,086 mg per serving)
Herring (946 mg per serving)
Anchovies (951 mg per serving)
4. Be physically active
You don’t have to run marathons or be the strongest man/woman in the world, however, you need to be physically active. Regular exercise is essential for brain health and is a good method to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. Your heart rate and blood flow intensity increase during exercise which makes nutrients actively enter the brain and enrich brain cells with oxygen.
You don’t even have to go to the gym to stay physically active. You can use alternative methods such as regular walking or bicycling. Our brain contains a bit of muscle as well as our heart does that’s why they both need regular training in order to stay in shape.
Chronic stress puts your overall health at risk causing many health problems such as cardiovascular disease, skin and hair problems, and mental health problems. Long-term stress can trigger a chemical imbalance which may result in early dementia. Therefore, it’s important to learn to react to stress in a healthy way. Practicing yoga, eating a healthy diet, fostering friendships, and exercising regularly will help you fight stress and have a long and healthy life.