YOUR HEALTH: Steps to protect your brain power

Cognitive vitality is essential to quality of life and survival in old age.
Published: Jan. 5, 2023 at 4:57 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 5, 2023 at 7:16 AM CST
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ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) - A common belief among the public is that aging is a downhill slope accompanied by difficulty learning new skills, rigid thinking, and ultimately ending with dementia. Although 62 percent of people in the United States fear the loss of mental capacity whereas 29 percent of people fear physical disabilities. Doctors say these negative assumptions about the capacity to grow and learn create a vicious cycle of mental inactivity and decline. Major research based on new imaging techniques have advanced science and offer a more positive view of cognitive function in older adults.

Cognitive vitality is essential to quality of life and survival in old age. With normal aging, cognitive changes such as slowed speed of processing are common.

University of Miami, Prof., Neurology & Psychiatry, James E. Galvin, MD, MPH says, “Dementia’s a general word. It describes a change in memory and thinking abilities that interfere with their everyday activities.”

Scientific research suggests that there are steps linked to cognitive health. Making these part of your routine could help you function better.

The first step is eating for your brain. There is growing evidence that specific diets — including the Mediterranean diet – may promote brain health. These healthy, balanced options include whole foods such as fish, nuts, and vegetables rich in vitamins, nutrients, and omega-3 fatty acids.

The second step is getting enough sleep. Impaired sleep contributes to cognitive decline and may increase your risk of Alzheimer’s. To protect your brain, establish a bedtime routine, maintain a regular sleep schedule, and treat any sleep-disordered breathing such as apnea.

One more step to protect your brain power is to be social. Loneliness and depression can impair cognitive health, causing memory loss and attention deficits. Maintain and build your social connections. And if you experience depression, get support.

Doctor Galvin says. “If you could live your whole life well, it’s much more important than living your life long.”

Other ways to protect your brain health are exercising, alleviating stress, continuing to learn, and managing chronic illnesses like arthritis.

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