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How to Take Long-Term Brain Health into Your Own Hands

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Brain health is just as important as physical health. Together they can determine one’s lifespan and the extent to which they can fully participate in life. Measures to promote brain health are also extremely important given the prevalence of dementias including Alzheimer’s disease. You can take your long-term brain health into your own hands to ensure that it serves you well for decades – here’s how.
 
Think fresh. If you concentrate on getting fresh air and eating fresh foods you will begin to adopt lifestyle habits that are healthy for your body and your brain. Exercise each day to get fresh blood and oxygen into your brain. Walking is great exercise. Eat fresh, whole foods that are full of nutrients for your brain. Avoid processed and fast foods that are high in calories and fat and low in essential nutrients. We have a ton of long-term brain health recipes on our blog, be sure to check them out! Developing healthy habits that build exercise and healthy foods into your life will result in a healthy brain.
 
Sleep. Your brain needs sleep to reenergize itself. While sleeping your brain recalibrates, moves memories to more efficient storage and strengthens brain cells. If you deprive yourself of sleep, you deprive your brain of one of its most important activities. The National Sleep Foundation1 recommends that adults get seven to eight hours sleep each night.
 
Reduce stress. Stress damages the brain. Researchers at UC Berkeley2 have discovered that chronic stress disrupts the delicate balance and timing of communication within the brain. Chronic stress also decreases the number of stem cells that mature into neurons. Researchers say that could explain how chronic stress affects learning and memory. People who are under chronic stress throughout their lifetime tend to have mood disorders and fewer coping skills as they age. In a nutshell, the brain doesn’t like stress, so the more you can reduce it the healthier your brain is going to be.
 
Remain interested. If you remain curious about life and continue to learn new things into your senior years, your brain will remain active and challenged. When you learn a new language or try to use your non-dominant hand, you challenge your brain to grow new cells in order to learn the new information. Visiting museums or learning to paint will stimulate brain stem growth as well. Remaining interested, active and engaged in life means that your brain will remain active as well.
 
Take care of your physical health. When you control your blood pressure and cholesterol you protect your vascular health which is directly related to brain health. High blood pressure and high cholesterol put you at risk for a stroke or heart attack, both of which can directly and adversely impact the health of your brain. Have your blood pressure and cholesterol checked regularly and follow your doctor’s instructions for reducing unhealthy levels. Healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels are good for your body, your heart, and your brain.
 
Following these simple guidelines, you can take your long-term brain health into your own hands. Caregiver burnout can be prevented, It’s a matter of developing healthy habits that will make you and your brain stronger, more resilient and prepared to live a long life.

[1] National Sleep Foundation’s sleep time duration recommendations: methodology and results summary
[2] New Evidence that Chronic Stress Predisposes Brain to Mental Illness

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