Keeping Your Mind And Brain Healthy

Mental activity can keep your mind sharp. Continue to learn and challenge yourself and your brain continues to grow.

Review the following tips to help challenge your brain to continual growth:

• Learn to play a musical instrument
• Play scrabble or do crossword puzzles
• Interact with others
• Switch careers or start a new one
• Start a new hobby with crafts, painting, wood-working
• Learn a foreign language
• Volunteer
• Travel
• Stay informed about world news
• Read

Taking classes that interest you or just reading more can help you maintain memory longer as you age.

Staying physically active increases blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain; exercise may even promote cell growth in the brain. Exercise makes you feel more energetic and alert. Just recently I started a membership at a local fitness center. I am amazed at how much better I feel after over one month of daily activity in the fitness center. I walk at a moderate speed on the treadmill for 60 minutes everyday. I started out just five minutes per day, then added one minute each day thereafter.

Antioxidants in fruits and vegetables protect and nourish brain cells. Antioxidants may also help prevent cholesterol from damaging the lining of your arteries and slowing blood flow to your brain. Foods high in antioxidants include:

• Oranges
• Berries
• Broccoli
• Spinach
• Carrot
• Sweet potatoes
• Tomatoes

You are more likely to gain the health benefits of antioxidants from eating whole foods than by taking supplements.

Heavy drinkers for many years can experience permanent brain damage. Heavy drinkers are also at a higher risk of developing memory problems and dementia. If you drink alcohol, do so moderately. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start. Moderate drinking means for women anyone 65 or older, one drink daily. For men under 65, no more than two drinks daily.

Some evidence shows that “moderate” alcohol consumption may prevent memory loss; this is not clear how. If you already do not drink, don’t start just for this reason.

Try to keep stress to a minimum. Chronic stress may cause your brain to release hormones that can damage the brain. Chronic stress can also make you feel depressed or anxious. These are feelings that can interfere with your memory.

Protect your head when doing exercise such as riding a bike. Head injury can increase your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Smokers may have twice the risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease as people who never smoked. It is never too late to stop smoking. You can still reduce risk of memory loss later in life.

If you have a family history of Alzheimer’s disease, talk to your doctor, he or she may be able to suggest ways of preventing the disease that would prove helpful to you.

Keeping regular doctor appointments is a good way to monitor blood pressure, cholesterol level and blood sugar level as well as to be sure your thyroid gland is functioning normally. These are easy ways to know what is going on inside your body.

Source: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research

Disclaimer: *This article is not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any kind of a health problem. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Always consult with your health care provider about any kind of a health problem and especially before beginning any kind of an exercise routine.