We know we are supposed to eat healthily and stay active for our health, but did you know that includes your brain as well. Brain health is as much connected to our overall health as our heart, lungs, muscles, and bones. The brain is an amazing organ that controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body, meaning it’s important to take care of it. It’s normal for cognitive function to decline as we age. Even so, if you are experiencing chronic forgetfulness or struggling to complete tasks then it may signal a more serious issue. We want our brains to stay as healthy as we possibly can, but what is the best way to do this?
Research shows that brain health is similar to any other major organ. Eating healthy, staying active, and getting plenty of sleep can help support the brain as it ages and even helps to prevent dementia. In addition, treating hearing as we age can lower your risk of cognitive decline as well.
Exercise and Your Brain
Exercise keeps your blood flowing. It improves circulation as it increases blood flow, getting the heart pumping blood throughout your body faster, and helping to flush the blood through your arteries. A recent study found that exercising three times a week helps older adults in more ways than one. Aside from a healthy heart, regular exercise was shown to lead to a 32% lower risk of dementia compared to older adults who didn’t stay active. You don’t have to do much. Just 20-30 minutes of getting your heart rate up 3 times a week make a huge difference. In addition to keeping, you feeling young, it may be a good way to connect to others, increase serotonin and endorphins, and keep you trying new things. The benefits of physical activity for your cognitive health are overflowing, with improvements in memory, attention, processing speed, and even cognitive function.
Diet and Your Brain
Staying active is great but your body needs fuel to keep going and caffeine and sugar just don’t cut it rather quickly. To support an active lifestyle, be sure to pack your diet full of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean meats. This will give your body all the nutrients and vitamins it needs to regulate the organs of the body, keep blood flowing and supply an even supply of energy to keep you going all day long.
Sleep and Your Brain
Rest is how your body regenerates. It gives your brain a chance to rest from all the work it does throughout the day. Those who get plenty of sleep have improved moods, less stress, a better ability to concentrate on tasks, and more energy overall throughout the day. Older adults are more likely to have sleep disorders such as insomnia or sleep apnea which can cause beta-amyloid levels in the brain, increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.
In addition, sleep aids in the formation of memory. When we slumber, memories from the day are consolidated in our long-term memories and stored for later access. Insomnia can start to impact memory so it’s important to try to rest when you can and seek out help if you find yourself lying awake at night.
Hearing and Your Brain
It surprises many to find out how linked hearing loss is to brain health. However, we collect sound with our ears but the sound is processed in the brain. When parts of words are constantly being lost due to untreated hearing loss, it causes the brain to strain to fill in the blanks. This causes listening fatigue and a simple conversation can suddenly become exhausting. In addition, brain cells that used to hear certain sounds, start to die as years go by and the sounds aren’t delivered. Hearing loss is a permanent condition and when not addressed brain atrophy is common.
- Mild hearing loss makes it two times more likely that you will develop dementia
- Moderate hearing loss makes it three times more likely that you’ll develop dementia
- Severe hearing loss makes it five times more likely that you’ll develop dementia.
Schedule a Hearing Test
Don’t put off treating your hearing. The longer you wait the greater the risk. Contact us today to schedule a hearing exam and get in front of any hearing issues before it’s too late.