6 Tips for Brain Health and Successful Aging - PIH Health

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Published on June 19, 2017

6 Tips for Brain Health and Successful Aging

Brain Activity - Alzheimer's Disease

Brain Activity - Alzheimer's DiseaseAlzheimer’s disease is the most common form of age-related dementia. More than 5.1 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease, and the risk for receiving a diagnosis doubles every five years between the ages of 65-95, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. Even though there’s no way to control certain risk factors such as age and genetics, there are several ways to proactively manage and improve brain health throughout one’s life.

Here are six tips for staying healthy by maintaining and improving brain function:

  1. Remember that physical activity and brain health are related. Researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago tracked study participants’ physical activities, such as bike riding, gardening and housework. Those with the highest levels of total daily activity had the slowest rates of mental decline.
  2. Work with a healthcare practitioner to address risk factors. “If you suffer from or are at risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, depression or high blood pressure, be aware that your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life may be higher than those without existing risk factors,” said PIH Health Family Medicine physician, Rajnish Birla MD.
  3. Make necessary lifestyle changes. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, eliminating poor diet, smoking and inactivity can reduce your risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease. Look at lifestyle changes such as engaging in regular physical activity, improving your diet, quitting smoking and maintaining social and intellectual interactions. These changes help to improve physical and mental health.
  4. Nourish your body, mind and soul. Your heart and mind are connected. Take care of your body by not smoking, limiting alcohol and taking daily vitamins. Feed your brain through learning new skills, reading, conversing with others and keeping your mind stimulated by solving word puzzles and playing board games. Nourish your soul through managing stress, having a positive attitude, and socializing with others through religious or spiritual involvement, volunteering and shared meals. Take time to laugh!
  5. Eat brain-smart foods. Look for colorful, dark-skinned fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin E such as blackberries, kale and spinach. Choose beta-carotene-rich foods like broccoli, sweet potatoes and carrots. Look for whole grains in breads and pastas, Omega-3 fatty acids in salmon and sardines, and antioxidants in walnuts and blueberries. Avoid processed foods, red meats, fried foods, salts and sugars.
  6. See your medical practitioner regularly. Get screened for many treatable diseases before they cause problems later. Medicare preventative benefits include screenings for cardiovascular diseases, depression and diabetes. Medical visits can detect cognitive impairment earlier. Depression and disengaging socially aren’t normal signs of aging. Know the warning signs of the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and watch for them in yourself and your loved ones. Report these signs to a licensed medical professional. For more information on Alzheimer’s disease, click here.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.

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