Ok, so as far as our humanly limitations go .. well, we are quite frail. Aging happens to all of us sooner or later and we need to keep ourselves in top shape. Aiming to reach the magic 100? :) Start with the things you can control – cognitive decline is an aspect we can care for and influence. So why not start today with taking better care of that sexy brain of yours? :) I’ve been reading and watching some very cool conference materials and here are the top things I could gather:
- The first and our favorite of them all is, of course, exercising & staying in shape. There are certain chemical reactions the brain is exposed to when working out – cells are getting activated, it receives the oxygen it needs to stay young and fresh.
- Nutrition is a key player as well – look for foods that help your brain out and give the right nutrients – in need of some examples? dried fruits, olive oil, chocolate (yessss!), nuts, carrots, beets, asparagus, fish, broccoli & co. If you’re looking for a cuisine that has this all covered, go for Mediterranean – it has actually proven to give great results in terms of health of its consumers. I have some good news for you as well! It can be wine night every night, hehe! We’re talking one glass of red wine – appears that resveratrol, a naturally occurring antioxidant found in wine fights cancer and cognitive decline by keeping your blood vessels dilated and flexible.
- Let’s talk medical stuff – try to be careful with your blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol -> improving their levels is directly linked to stopping smoking. Apparently even that casual or social cigarette will make the brain think it is being poisoned because… well, it is.
- Be social, connect to people, it will keep you young; isolation is one of the worst things you can do to your brain. OK, not everyone has a large circle of friends or maybe you’ve just moved to a new city or country. Have a look at FB groups like Meeple or search for interesting stuff in Meetup.com, try out some volunteering initiatives. Whatever floats your boat but get out there :)
- Learn, learn, learn – whether it is a new language, an instrument, a dance style or the whole script from Lord of the Rings, it slows aging, raises productivity, improves intellect, develops thinking skills and what not.
- Reading – trains left brain empisphere, improves memory.
- Ok, hate to add this one but… video games – they help improve concentration, increase reaction speed
- Laugh!! – whether it is from the evil prank you’ve pulled on someone, your favorite sitcom or that idiot that is pulling the door even though it says “push”… it will lower stress which usually contributes to cognitive loss.
- Relax and sleep well, unwind, health is much more important.
- Brush and floss – a disciplined dental hygene helps against dementia, how crazy is that? Apparently not so crazy – one particular bacteria that we develop when not brushing out teeth can damage our brain.
- Make sure you find your purpose in life. What are your goals and dreams? Heavy one but that’s why i saved it for later. Researchers have found that people with a clear purpose, that know what they want from life will have about half the chance to develop dementia as those that don’t. Pause whatever you are doing and deep dive – do you have this sorted out for yourself? If all self-development advice seemed like mambo-jumbo so far, now you have the medical argument to push you towards finding your way moving forward. What is the cause that moves you? What is meaningful to you? Just pick one and go for it. The benefits might be more than you thought.
- Stay positive – yep, this one is also backed by neuroscience. Having a positive outlook on life might be one of the big factors that will ensure we age well, live healthy. Even though as we age we have the risk of developing Alzheimer, it turned out through a medical experiment that people with positive outcome, even though having the disease’s marks developing on their brain they did not show any symptoms. Trick: stop talking & thinking negative – talk back to yourself with positive thoughts. Negative friends, nagging all the time? They might be having a medical impact on you – I understand you cannot get rid of them but try limiting exposing yourself to negative, energy-draining conversations.
Wrapping up now, the list is long enough. I have to say it is quite a fascinating topic to look into. One thing I can definitely conclude- we have access to huge amounts of information and, therefore, no excuse for not taking care of ourselves. All it takes is a bit of dedication.