If you’re in your 30s, your older years may seem light years away. It could be a crazy to think that signs of dementia may show up in your younger years, however, the way you live today can directly impact the health of your brain decades ahead. Brain health and dementia are connected, and the more you take care of your brain today, the stronger your future health and longevity will bet. Here are three lifestyle changes that you can make in your 30s that may help to curb the onset of dementia in your older years.
Get exercise and lots of oxygen: The brain loves oxygen. The more it gets the better it feels. Exercise fills your body with fresh blood and oxygen and sends it to the brain. According to Harvard Medical School, “exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills”. Exercise causes the brain to release chemicals that improve it by growing new blood vessels, improving the health of brain cells and growing new brain cells. Any exercise is great as long as you try to move at least 30 minutes each day. Walking, running, swimming, lifting weights; it’s all beneficial for your brain, as well as your heart.
Eat healthily and focus on brain food: Is it possible to eat for brain health? Yes it is. There are significant benefits for your brain when you eat a diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, vegetable oils, and fish. These foods help the cells in the brain to remain healthy. These foods are the mainstay of the Mediterranean Diet, considered one of the best for brain and heart health. For those looking to learn more, we have published an easy brain health recipe for a dish from the Mediterranean Diet.
An easy rule of thumb to remember is that foods that are healthy for your heart are healthy for your brain too. Eating healthy foods keeps the blood healthy and that means it can transport oxygen to the brain.
Get more sleep and meditate: Search for “meditation” and you will find articles touting its benefits in publications including The New York Times, Scientific American, Psychology Today and The Washington Post, to name a few. Meditation calms your brain, helps it to avoid being paralyzed by fear and preserves brain functions. A study conducted by UCLA found that people who meditated for an average of 20 years had better, healthier brains than non-meditators as they aged. They lost less brain volume and improved all areas of their brains by training it through meditation.
Sleep also trains your brain and is essential to brain health. A study published in Science Daily shows that sleep shifts memory to more efficient storage “lockers” in the brain, making them last longer. According to researchers the result is that when you awaken, “…memory tasks can be performed both more quickly and accurately, and with less stress and anxiety.”
Approximately 5.5 million Americans suffer from dementia and that number is growing daily as the population ages. If you are in your 30s you have 30 years before you are in your 60s. Dementia care planning is far, far away, however now is the time to lay the groundwork for a strong, healthy brain that will last long into your later years.