Here’s some Brain health tips from My Brain Health Coaches’s very own ambassador D.Kristen Willeumier.
Train your brain with daily exercise: Just as we lose the muscle in our body over time, our brains can diminish as well – and just as weight workouts add lean muscle to the body, performing regular brain exercises can increase the brain’s cognitive reserves. In researching the brain scans of older adults, findings show that physically active people maintain their motor skills better than those who are sedentary, and that physical activity can help build cognitive reserve that serves to protect motor function from age-related brain damage. “The brain thrives on novel learning,” says Dr. Willeumier. “In order to slow down brain aging, you want to continually expose it to new stimuli. Passivity can lead to atrophy – it pays dividends to keep the mind active.”
Among Dr. Willeumier’s brain exercise tips: Memorization – memorize a passage from a book, make it a point to remember phone numbers or your grocery list – the key is to make it challenging for maximum mental stimulation. Put the Smart phone down and use your brain to recall information. Take up a new language in support of reducing the risk of cognitive decline. Build your hand-eye coordination by engaging in a new hobby that involves fine-motor skills such as knitting, drawing or painting. Exercising your brain can also include taking a cooking class, learning to play a musical instrument, or challenging your taste buds by identifying individual ingredients in a meal. Physical exercise works the brain by stimulating the growth of neurons and new neural pathways, so engage in various forms of activity including running, swimming, biking, dancing, hiking and golf.
Nourish the brain through a healthy diet: Diet is a powerful factor that affects our thinking and our mood in youth through adulthood – and can impact long-term brain health as we age. Foods that support optimal brain functioning include green leafy vegetables, fruits and berries, nuts and seeds, beans, whole grains, fish and poultry and brain healthy fats. Dr. Willeumier has observed that significant protection against cognitive impairment can be accomplished by consuming these food groups consistently. Alternatively, foods to minimize in the diet include red meat, butter and margarine, dairy and cheese, processed foods, gluten and refined sugar. By reducing intake of these food groups, you will be supporting the maintenance of your brain’s cognitive reserves.
Set the intention to get a restful sleep: When we sleep, parts of our brain remains active, including the glymphatic system which has been shown to clear out and recycle the brain’s toxins. As a result, sleep deprivation is a factor than can lead to accelerated brain aging and research has shown that chronic sleeplessness can lead to irreversible brain damage. Studies have led scientists to conclude that chemicals secreted during the deeper stages of sleep are crucial for repairing the body — including the brain.
Brain health is at the forefront of national news and is a high-priority issue for consumers, healthcare providers, researchers and governmental officials. The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that 35.6 million people worldwide are suffering from declines in cognitive ability and memory, statistics that have encouraged the agency to increase its efforts in expanding brain health education this area.