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Every brain changes with age, and mental function changes with it. Mental decline is common and it is one of the most feared consequences of aging. But cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Here are 12 ways you can help maintain brain function.
1. Get mental stimulation
Through research in mice and humans, scientists have found that intellectual activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and can even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological "plasticity" and building up a brain. functional reserve that provides protection against future loss of cells.
Any mentally stimulating activity should help develop your brain. Read, take lessons, try "mental gymnastics" such as word puzzles or math problems. Experiment with things that require manual dexterity as well as mental efforts, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts.
2. Get some physical exercise
Research shows that using your muscles also helps your mind. Animals that exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen-rich blood to the area of the brain responsible for thinking. Exercise also stimulates the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells (synapses). The result is more efficient, more plastic, and more adaptive brains, which translates into better performance in aging animals. Exercise also lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol levels, helps balance blood sugar levels, and reduces mental stress, which can help your brain as well as your heart.
3. Improve your diet
Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body. For example, people who follow a Mediterranean-style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil), and plant sources of protein are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.
4. Improve your blood pressure
High blood pressure in midlife increases the risk of cognitive decline in the elderly. Change your lifestyle to keep your blood pressure as low as possible. Stay slim, exercise regularly, limit your alcohol intake to two drinks a day, reduce stress, and eat well.
5. Improve your blood sugar
Diabetes is a major risk factor for dementia. You can help prevent diabetes by eating properly, exercising regularly, and staying slim. But if your blood sugar stays high, you will need medication to get good control.
6. Improve your cholesterol
High levels of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) are associated with an increased risk of dementia. Diet, exercise, weight control, and avoiding tobacco will go a long way in improving your cholesterol levels. But if you need more help, ask your doctor for medication.
7. Consider low-dose aspirin
Some observational studies suggest that low-dose aspirin may reduce the risk of dementia, especially vascular dementia. Ask your doctor if you are a candidate.
8. Avoid tobacco
Avoid tobacco in all its forms.
9. Don't abuse alcohol
Excessive alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for dementia. If you choose to drink, limit yourself to two drinks a day.
10. Take care of your emotions
People who are anxious, depressed, sleep-deprived, or exhausted tend to score poorly on cognitive function tests, 100% free essays on this topic. Poor scores don't necessarily predict an increased risk of cognitive decline in older adults, but good mental health and restful sleep are certainly important goals.
11. Protect your head
Moderate to severe head injuries, even without a diagnosed concussion, increase the risk of cognitive impairment.
12. Create social networks
Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.