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What goes into "Brain Health"?

September 8, 2015

You can’t find your keys, you forget a name, you walk into a room and can’t remember why... Memory lapses are common at any age, but as we grow older, the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease increases. Believe it or not, one in every seven Americans over the age of 71 has some form of dementia. Although it is not curable, there are simple lifestyle changes that can help reduce your risk of developing dementia. We've all heard about the importance of having a healthy mind, but beyond the basic mantra of "exercise your brain," do we really understand what it means to have a brain-healthy lifestyle?

crosswordpuzzleIt’s in what we eat
As the saying goes, “we are what we eat.” We should always maintain a well-rounded diet, but certain nutrients may increase brain health. Certain fruits and vegetables, like blueberries and avocado, are important because of their antioxidant properties. Omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in almonds, salmon and tuna, play a key role in supporting proper brain function. Freshly-brewed teas are also helpful, and green tea has been noted to help reduce plaque buildup in the brain. Additionally, B12, Folic acid, and Vitamin D are nutrition essentials for good brain health.

The way we think
Think positive! Depression can increase the risk of dementia, so if you’re feeling down, take a walk, call a friend or talk to your doctor for further support. For many of us, getting enough sleep can be tricky, but try to follow the general rule of 6-8 hours per night. Sleep deprivation can decrease brain health, and no amount of food can prevent that. Exercise your brain. Fun activities like keeping a journal, putting together a puzzle or crossword, and reading can all lead to good blood flow to the brain.

And how we live
There are four important lifestyle areas to be conscious about when helping reduce your dementia risk:

  • Exercise: Walk, dance, swim or cycle your way to better brain blood flow. Even if you’re unable to walk, there are physical activities, like “Sit to be Fit,” that can help maintain muscle and physical health.
  • Lose Weight: Excess abdominal fat can be linked to an increased dementia risk. Weight loss not only helps brain health but can also reduce the risks of other health issues.
  • Quit Smoking: Smoking can cause many health problems, including poor blood flow, thus depriving the brain of necessary blood. There are many programs that offer support to help smokers put out the bad habit for good.
  • Control Diabetes: Dementia development has been known to be linked to diabetes. Help lessen your risk of health issues and maintain brain health by controlling blood sugar levels.

Remember — it’s not just about the quantity of life we live, but the quality of life that is important!

Individuals with dementia, Alzheimer's disease and other memory-impairing ailments often require special care in a location that gives them the opportunity to thrive. While all of the Concordia Personal Care and Assisted Living facilities are equipped to care for individuals with a memory-impairing ailment, our Memory Care facilities are specially designed for safety, security and comfort.

 

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