You probably take some steps to monitor your physical health. You may exercise or measure your blood pressure on a regular occasion. That’s great! But you also need some tips to boost brain health in order to stay at the top of your game.
Your brain is essentially the command center that guides you through your life, but that’s just one reason why your brain health is so important. Other reasons why you should aim to maintain and improve your brain health include the following:
- As early as in the 20s, your brain starts to experience cognitive decline, according to the American Heart Association.
- Three out of five people will experience a brain disease in their lifetime, the AHA reports. This could include dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
- Although some decline in brain health naturally happens with age, you also can make efforts to improve your brain health. That way, your brain will have a long, active life.
Here are a few tips to help boost your brain health.
1. Keep High Blood Pressure in Check
Are you one of the 108 million Americans with high blood pressure? If so, do your best to get it under control by eating healthy and following recommendations from your primary care doctor. That’s because high blood pressure in midlife increases your risk for cognitive decline, according to Harvard Health Publishing. It’s true, the first of our 7 tips to boost brain health is to boost your physical health!
One suggestion: The DASH diet (short for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension ) was created specifically to help control high blood pressure. The DASH plan incorporates fruits and vegetables as well as whole grains and low-fat dairy.
2. Watch Your Cholesterol
Surpringly, one of the major tips to boost brain health is to know that a higher level of LDL cholesterol – also known as “bad” cholesterol – is associated with a higher risk for dementia over time. Get more physical activity, reach a healthy weight, and focus on healthier eating with plans such as the DASH diet to help lower your LDL cholesterol.
3. Stay Safe to Avoid Brain Injuries
Brain health isn’t just about avoiding dementia or stroke. It’s also about preventing brain injuries like a concussion. As you get older, you’re at a higher risk for falls. In fact, more than 1 in 3 people over age 65 fall each year, according to the National Institute of Aging. That could make you more vulnerable to brain injuries, including concussions, depending on the extent of the injuries. Some way to keep yourself better protected from falls: Get your eyesight and hearing checked, find out if dizziness is a side effect from any medications you use, and incorporate balance exercises in your physical activity routine.
Some other easy ways to prevent brain injuries: Wear a seat belt in vehicles, and use a helmet while biking.
4. Join a Club
Maintaining an active social life is one of one of the best tips to boost brain health. So, why not join a club that focuses on an activity you enjoy? From books to photography to mahjong, there’s no shortage of clubs that allow you to connect with like-minded others. The good news nowadays is that you can meet with your club virtually if you can’t go in person.
5. Take a Class
It’s time to go back to school—only this time, there’s not the pressure of tests and quizzes. Constantly learning new things, either formally or informally, is a great way to keep your brain healthy. Learning new things can help protect your brain from dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Plus, you’ll become smarter! Nowadays, there’s an abundance of course options both in person and online. There are sites online such as Great Courses that allow you to take courses at your own pace, many of which are taught by real college professors.
6. Monitor Your Mental Health
Research links depression to cognitive decline, the Alzheimer’s Association reports. If you think you are depressed or experiencing other mental health issues, reach out to others. Let your doctor know, or talk to a therapist. Share what you are going through with a trusted family member or friend. The key point is to seek help. Some symptoms of depression in older adults include:
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feeling persistently sad
- Having less energy
- No longer enjoying activities that you once enjoyed
- Crying a lot
- Experiencing aches and pains with no apparent physical cause
7. Know The Tips To Boost Brain Health — What Works, and What Doesn’t
You’ve probably seen or heard ads for products that claim to be tips to boost brain health, be it brain supplements or games you can play online. Save your money. The truth is, the evidence just isn’t there to support these extra efforts.
A 2019 report from AARP did not find value from brain supplements, even though adults over age 50 are spending $93 million each month on such products. And while so-called brain games can be fun and engaging, they don’t necessary boost what’s called neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s capacity to rewire itself through new learning, according to Cedars Sinai.
Stick with common-sense tips to boost brain health such as physical activity, eating right, staying social, and learning lots to help keep your brain sharp. For more tips to boost your brain health, read this previous article from Word To The Wise.