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5 Tips To Enjoy “Brain Health Freedom”

When I talk to my patients about brain health, a word that comes up more than they probably expect is “freedom.” I say it because a healthy brain will allow you to enjoy exactly that: freedom and independence to live your life exactly as you want it. 

Unfortunately, a variety of factors can rob us of that freedom if we’re not careful. People who have prided themselves on their independence and self-reliance all their lives suddenly find themselves beholden to home care or assisted living. All because their brains simply cannot operate as well as they used to. 

And yet, of all those factors that can steal our “brain health freedom,” many of them are actually within our control! Age is NOT the only factor to consider when it comes to the vitality of your brain. 

Take a look at these 5 tips you should employ starting today in order to enjoy “Brain Health Freedom.” 

Consider a Mediterranaean Diet

A nutritious diet isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain, too! And without question, one of the best regimens for your brain is what’s known as the “Mediterranean Diet.” 

This is a diet rich in the food staples of people who live in the Mediterranean region such as Greece, Croatia and Italy. In their diets, there is a huge emphasis on fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy fats, which includes olive oil and omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. It has been found that people whose diet reflects that of the Mediterranean lifestyle are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.

Get Physical Exercise

Much like diet selection, when you think of exercise, the benefits to the brain aren’t usually what one considers. However, physical exercise is great for your brain, too! 

When you engage in aerobic exercise, for example, you raise your heart rate, which increases blood flow to your brain. Exercise has been shown to stimulate chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood and thinking. It also changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills.

Perhaps most importantly: a 2018 study found that exercise could potentially delay dementia onset by up to 15 years.

Get Plenty of Sleep 

When bedtime hits, turn off the TV, put down the phone and go to sleep -- your brain will thank you. 

That’s because new research has found an even deeper connection between quality sleep and brain health. It turns out that sleep allows the brain to clear out toxins called beta-amyloids that can lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

According to Romie Mushtaq, MD, a neurologist and integrative medicine specialist, “Sleep is the most important thing you can do to reset the brain, allow it to heal, and to restore mental health.” 

So when you have had a long day and feel completely mentally drained, the answer is NOT to binge watch TV while digging into some snacks. Give yourself some much-deserved (and much-needed) rest! 

Avoid Head Injuries 

This isn’t just advice for football players. This is something every one of us should take seriously. Moderate to severe head injuries can cause a condition called Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. This results from an impact to the head that disrupts normal brain function, and it’s been show that TBI may affect a person’s cognitive abilities, including learning and thinking skills.

Furthermore, research has linked moderate and severe traumatic brain injury to a greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s or dementia -- even years after the original head injury. 

It’s recommended that you wear a helmet or protective headgear anytime the risk of head injury is elevated, such as riding a bike, roller skating, or engaging in potentially risky outdoor activities. 

Be Social 

Social interaction won’t just put you in a better mood -- it actually feeds your brain to be healthier! 

Research has shown that when we interact with others, social motivation and contact improve memory formation. Not only that, socializing can also protect from neurodegenerative diseases: In a California study published by the American Journal of Public Health, researchers reported that older women who managed large social networks reduced their risk of dementia by 26%.

You can boost your socialization by joining a hobby group such as bird watching or sculpting, or simply organize a walking group in your neighborhood -- that’ll boost your socialization as well as your exercise levels!

If you want to protect your brain further, click here to find out how


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