Today is World Alzheimer's Day 2018 and we are going to write about how to improve your cognitive health and fight brain-ageing.
There are a number of strategies and ways that can help you improve your memory naturally and protect against memory loss when you start ageing. To keep your mind sharp as you grow older and to reduce age-related conditions like Alzheimer's, it is necessary to stick to a health plan. Let's first see what is Alzheimer's disease and how it affects you.
What Is Alzheimer's Disease?
It is a progressive brain disorder that slowly degrades memory, thinking skills and other important mental functions and eventually one loses the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.
In India, Alzheimer's disease has affected around 1.6 Million and the number is set to triple by 2050.
How You Can Improve Your Cognitive Health?
1. Maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels
Many studies have shown that there is a connection between blood pressure and brain health. Because the circulatory system is responsible for supplying blood to the brain and when there is an impairment in the blood flow it could lead to brain tissue damage. High blood pressure is associated with poor cognitive performance and damage to the brain tissue. The small arteries in the brain are sensitive to elevated blood pressure levels and can injure them.
Also, high cholesterol levels lead to the formation of amyloid beta plaques which poses another risk for Alzheimer's disease.
2. Increase the intake of omega 3 fatty acids
Sufficient amounts of omega 3 fatty acids (DHA) prevents neurodegenerative diseases later in life. And studies have shown that increasing the intake of omega 3 fatty acids-rich foods like fatty fishes, eggs, nuts and seeds, etc., is associated with larger brain volume and a decreased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
3. Increase the intake of vitamin B12
As you age, the risk of vitamin B12 deficiency increases and moreover 20 per cent of adults over 60 years have the risk too. A deficiency in vitamin B12 is associated with Alzheimer's disease because as you age the body loses its ability to absorb vitamin B12.
4. Add herbs to your diet
Some research suggests that pairing herbs like ginkgo biloba and ginseng helps in enhancing the cognitive function and improves memory. It sharpens your brain, you experience less anxiety and may protect from brain tumours as well.
5. Consume berries frequently
Berries are said to protect the brain and they have been found to slow or reverse age-related decline in brain function. The phytochemicals and antioxidants present in the berries help to alleviate stress and inflammation in the brain, thus reducing the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
6. Increase consumption of vitamin D
Many studies have shown the association of vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of cognitive impairment in older adults. Researchers say that older adults with lower vitamin D levels may lose their memory and thinking abilities faster than older adults with normal vitamin D levels. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamin D is 600 IU/day.
7. Stay active
Staying physically active has favourable effects on the brain at all stages of life. The reason is that physical activity enhances the blood flow to the brain and keeps the blood vessels healthy. So, if you aren't physically active, start exercising simply by jogging or walking as it will help the brain tissue produce more mitochondria which is responsible for cellular energy production.
Some Additional Tips:
- Practice meditation and yoga to improve your memory.
- Maintain social connections.
- Stimulate your mind with challenging activities like doing a crossword puzzle or learning to play a musical instrument.
- Sleep at least for 7 to 8 hours every day.
- You can also opt for different brain-training lessons that are available online.
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