The brain is our most important and powerful tool, but everyone goes through mental changes as they age. Mental decline is common and is natural, but that doesn’t mean it’s an entirely impossible to slow that process and keep our minds sharp or perhaps even improve our mental capacity with the proper focus. There are many scientifically proven ways in which we can keep our minds young and impressively cognitive. The following is a brief outline of some of the practices and guidelines we can follow to stay sharp and clear.
One of the very first things that is required in keeping the mind young is focusing on getting high quality mental stimulation. Challenging the mind stimulates connections between nerve cells and has also been proven in certain cases to generate new brain cells. Mental stimulating activities such as reading, solving puzzles, drawing, painting, and making other forms of arts and crafts, aid in developing neurological plasticity.
There is literally a million different articles available online about food sources that help with brain function. It’s no secret that eating a diet rich in nutrients and devoid of harmful chemicals and additives, leads to better brain function. Having the proper calorie intake and eating foods rich in healthy fats, but absent of trans-fatty acids,saturated fat, and cholesterol are all ways to keep the brain in high functioning order. Also, make sure to have plenty of B vitamins in your diet which have been proven to aid in the decreased risk of dementia.
Maybe one of the most obvious factors in maintaining a young and healthy mind is by exercising regularly. Research has shown that when we exercise on a frequent basis it increases our number of blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to the area of the brain that is responsible for cognitive function and thought. Regular exercise also aids in the development of new nerve cells and can increase synapses or connections between brain cells. Exercise also helps improve and stabilize hormonal levels, improves cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, and releases stress relieving endorphins, all things that lead to strong brain function.
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Participating in activities that reduce stress and help care for your emotions can be a powerful way to protect against cognitive decline. Anxiety, depression, exhaustion, and sleep deprivation are ailments that tend to drastically effect cognitive function tests in a negative manner. The constant release of the stress hormone known as Cortisol has been proven to cause negative effects in brain function. Whether it’s gardening, fishing, hiking, or going to a movie, whatever helps you feel relaxed, alive, and inspired, these are the things one should enjoy more frequently.
Alcohol & Tobacco are notorious brain function faux pas. Excessive drinking and smoking can lead to early onset dementia. Everything should be consumed with moderation. Studies have most definitely been conducted with the moderate use of alcohol being found to actually reduce the risks of dementia, especially in the case of red wine. Smoking on the other hand, should just be avoided completely because it increases blood pressure, respiration, and heart rate.
High blood pressure is a common factor in increased risk of cognitive decline in old age. Keeping the blood pressure low is vital for sustained mental function and the ways to accomplish this are fairly simple: exercise, stay lean, don’t drink to excess, reduce your stress, and eat a clean diet.
Improving your cholesterol is vital in maintaining good brain function. High levels of LDL cholesterol “bad cholesterol” increase the risk of dementia, while low levels of “good cholesterol” or HDL can also be detrimental to your brain function. There is plenty of information on how to improve your cholesterol levels, but if you’re having trouble figuring it out it would be wise to talk to your doctor.
These are just a number of basic ways to keep your mind young and functioning to its highest capacity. The correlation of “mind, body, and spirit” is the key to success. Keep your body healthy through proper diet and exercise, keep your emotions in check and your stress down, and stay mentally stimulated by challenging your mind as frequent as possible.