Aging definitely has its perks, but it also comes with challenges. Street lights begin to wear halos as our eyes grow older and creaking bones and popping joints find us moaning and groaning through more and more of our day. Most alarming of all, we find ourselves forgetting names and important dates, and we don't feel quite as sharp and focused as we once did. It's one thing to need stronger glasses or suffer from aches and pains. It's quite another to experience noticeable differences in our cognitive function.
There's no doubt that the function of all our organs decrease as we age. But just as there are things you can do to prevent heart, lung, and liver disease and improve the health of these organs, there are things you can to do protect your brain's health and optimize its function.
A large body of research shows that good brain health depends on several important lifestyle choices, including these five essential activities.
Recent studies show a connection between sleep and memory. Because sleep quality suffers as we age, we experience less slow-wave brain activity, which occurs in the medial prefrontal cortex, or mPFC, during deep sleep. Lower slow-wave activity is associated with a reduced mPFC volume, and this leads to a decline in establishing long-term memories, according to the National Institutes of Health. Older adults must then rely on the hippocampus for long-memory tasks, although this structure is designed to store short-term memories.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a number of issues can reduce the amount and quality of sleep as we age. These include medical and mental illnesses and the medications used to treat them. To improve your sleep, keep your bedroom dark and cool at night. Talk to your doctor about problems with insomnia, snoring, waking up frequently, and other sleep troubles.
As Harvard University points out, what you eat directly affects the function and physical structures of your brain and impacts your mood. The brain functions best on a nutritious diet that provides the body with all of the nutrients it needs for optimal function, while a poor diet high in processed foods and sugar leads to cell damage, tissue injury, and inflammation that impair brain function.
The best diet for your brain is one that's high in c, vegetables, whole grains, and seafood and includes only modest amounts of dairy and lean meats. Specific foods that boost brain function include salmon and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids; eggs; cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens; and blueberries. Research shows that a cup or two of coffee and a glass of wine daily may lower your risk of Alzheimer's.
Exercise is essential for proper organ health, and this includes the health of the brain. A University of British Columbia study found that regular aerobic exercise may boost the size of the hippocampus for better memory formation and retention. Exercise also reduces inflammation in the brain and stimulates the growth of new blood vessels and improve the health of brain cells. Exercise also improves mood and sleep, and it reduces stress and anxiety, all of which improve the health of the brain.
Imaging studies show that meditation changes the structures and functions of the brain. A UCLA study found that people who meditate for the long-term have better-preserved brains than non-meditators, and a Yale study found improved focus among meditators.
Mindfulness meditation was shown by a Johns Hopkins study to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, and--perhaps most interesting--a Harvard study found that mindfulness meditation increases cortical thickness in the hippocampus and other areas of the brain, improving memory, learning, emotional regulation, and self-referential processing. Meditation also improves concentration and attention, plus it helps reduce stress.
Use it or lose it, the saying goes, and that's fitting advice for optimal brain health. Studies show that aging adults who engage in meaningful activities and who continually learn new skills enjoy improvements in memory and cognitive function, including processing speed and reasoning. According to the National Institute on Aging, scientists believe that actively engaging and challenging the brain help it become more adaptable so that it can compensate for age-related changes.
The worst thing we can do as we age is taking our brain's health for granted. Your brain is an incredibly complex organ that will inevitably deteriorate with age, but this deterioration can be slowed--and function optimized--by taking excellent care of your brain. Along with diet, exercise, and other brain-building activities, Super Brain Renew by Thrive Naturals' can help you maintain healthy brain function. A daily supplement containing five essential ingredients that promote brain health, Super Brain Renew is safe, all-natural, and proven effective for improving memory, focus, and mental clarity. The more you do to protect and nurture your brain, the better it will function as you age.
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