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1. Get Fit
As if this isnt beaten into our heads enough, we now have another reason to get our butts, or brains, to the gym. Your brain needs circulation, blood flow, and oxygen just as much as other organs and muscles do in order to function productively. Accordingly, aerobic exercise has been found to reduce brain cell loss in elderly patients and allows for new cells to grow. There arent requirements on duration so long as you are actively exercising each day or regularly.
2. Feed Your Brain
Research shows eating a diet specifically low in fat and cholesterol but high in protein and sugar can reduce the risk of developing dementia and side effects leading to the disease. We what body healthy is but what is brain healthy? If youre on a clean eating diet now youre on the right track. Staying away from foods high in fat will greatly reduce the risk of blood clots as they greatly increase your risk in the development of Alzheimers. Products such as vegetables and dark skinned fruits promote excellent brain health because of the antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients they provide directly, rather than from a pill. Also recommended are nuts and cold water fish for the omega 3 fatty acids they contain.
3. Become a Social Butterfly
Staying close with friends and family and being involved in social activities and social situations can greatly contribute to a long life of strong cognitive health. (NOTE This does not promote ditching Tips 1 & 2 and only maintaining a large social group!) Along with physical exercise and a healthy diet, you should be incorporating activities into your life to maintain those social skills we developed and honed as kids. Keeping your brain active through conversation can make an enormous difference as you age. Not only that, but if you work out with a friend or work with your partner to maintain a healthy diet, you can kill two birds with one stone.
4. Let your Brain Work
If youve nailed Tips 1 3 youre doing great but Tip 4 is where many people struggle including me. In a time with so much technology around us, its hard to turn off Angry Birds or the Kardashians and take 30 minutes to get lost in a book. When is the last time you did a crossword puzzle What about Scrabble? Using games where you have to use strategy to participate, are great ways to keep your brain sharp and active on the inside. We may need exercise to bring our brain some much needed blood flow but let it out of its proverbial cage and play sometimes.Studies show that lower levels of education led to higher risk of Alzheimers, which is possibly due to less mental stimulation. Thats not to say those with higher education levels cant develop Alzheimers as well, but research has shown those individuals developed the disease much later. If you cant possibly read a book or Zen out and prefer to be glued to the computer, do some research on a topic youve always wanted to learn about. If youre going to get butt sores from wasting away on the couch for six hours, make one of the shows you watch a documentary.
5. Dont smoke
Smoking represents a major risk factor for cancer, heart disease and stroke. These leading causes of death represent an ongoing concern for all Americans. Nonsmokers might consider taking an empathetic approach to smokers who are trying to quit, and parents might use a tough love approach with their children to make sure they dont even start.
6. Follow your physicians advice
Your relationship with your physician is critical to your health. Remember, though, that as a consumer of health services your doctor is your employee, so establish a good working relationship based on the understanding that you are the boss of your body. We must develop a proactive attitude toward maintaining our health and take responsibility to change those aspects of our lifestyles that are minimizing our longevity potential. Our physicians can help guide this process.
7. Exercise regularly
Exercise and physical activity continue to emerge as primary components of a healthy lifestyle at any age. Aerobic exercise, weight training and recreation are critical not just to our cardiovascular health but to our brain health, as well. Every time our heart beats, 25 percent of its output goes to our brains quite a large market share! Clearly, maintaining efficient blood flow to our brains through regular exercise promotes health. If you dont exercise regularly, start by walking around the block tonight and build from there.
8. Reduce the overall calories you consume daily
We Americans tend not to underconsume anything including food. Yet the leading factor for longevity in animals is caloric restriction. This finding has yet to be demonstrated in humans. However, provided you get your daily nutritional needs from the USDAS food pyramid, you should pay close attention to how much you eat. Follow the advice two physicians gave me: N ever go to bed stuffed, and eat only 80 percent of what you intend to consume at every meal.
9. Socialize and have fun
We Americans specialize in stress, with little understanding of how to have fun. We need more time to socialize, celebrate and laugh! Some of us have walls around us that keep other people away. As humans, though, we need to be engaged and to be social. Kofi Annan, the secretary general of the United Nations, once stated that every time we lose an elder from our village, we lose a library. If we begin to think of everyone as a library, it becomes clear that we can learn from others.
10. Develop your spirituality
Evidence continues to emerge that prayer is a health promoting behavior and that attendance at formalized places of worship may have more significance to our health than we understand. Meditation, yoga, relaxation procedures and prayer have neurophysiological bases. They help to alter our existing homeostasis for the better. Praying or meditating daily can help us combat the stresses of life and focus on the challenges ahead.
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