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Brain boosters: 7 things you can do to improve your brain health

Brain boosters: 7 things you can do to improve your brain health

Just like your knees and your waistline, your brain isn’t going to be the same at age 50 as it was at age 20. That’s a good thing in many cases, but you might also be worried about what the next decades hold. After all, you can get knee replacement surgery, but there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. However, there are several things you can do to lower your risk of cognitive decline as you age. Try these brain boosters to improve your brain function—and ask your LCMC Health primary care provider for more tips on your next visit.

1. Get moving

Research has repeatedly shown that exercise can help your brain cells function better. Ready to exercise regularly? start walking, swimming or biking to boost your heart rate, and tai chi to improve your balance and flexibility.

2. Train your brain

There are plenty of apps and games that claim to improve brain health or limit memory loss. However, research has not found clear evidence that these types of games work to boost your brain in the long term. Staying mentally engaged in a complicated ongoing complicated task may better help cognitive outcomes. Now’s the time to learn a new language, pick up a musical instrument or try a new hobby that trains your brain.

3. Get together with people

Social engagement is a known component of dementia prevention. Studies show that socially active older adults have a lower risk of dementia. At the same time, loneliness and isolation can contribute to mental decline. Talk to your friends on the phone or meet people for lunch every week. Volunteer with your favorite organization or get involved with your church. Get to know your neighbors and set up a standing pot-luck—the opportunities for being a part of your community as you age are endless.

4. Eat a brain-healthy diet

Eating right can lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes, and it may also improve your brain health. Some research has shown an association between eating a Mediterranean diet and a lower risk for dementia. Pack your meals with fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, and healthy fats like olive oil. Limit red meat and foods with saturated fat and added sugars.

5. Skip the alcohol

One sure way to lower your risk of dementia is to quit drinking or, at least, to seriously limit your intake. Excessive alcohol use is a proven risk factor for dementia, and it increases your risk of cancer and multiple other diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends women consume no more than one alcoholic beverage a day, and men no more than two.

6. Take charge of your health

High blood pressure can cause physical changes that increase the risk of dementia. Certain medications—or the wrong dose of some medications—can cloud your brain. Lack of sleep can worsen memory problems. It’s a good idea to get an annual wellness visit with your LCMC Health primary care physician to get a handle on any health concerns before they become worsening problems.

7. Beware brain health supplements.

Brain health supplements, sometimes called nootropics, are all the rage in certain circles. But there’s no clear evidence that they work. Additionally, the FDA does not regulate herbal supplements and vitamins, so there’s no guarantee the expensive pills you may see advertised even contain the purported ingredients. Taking prescription nootropics such as ADHD medications may not be safe for your aging heart. Before you try anything that says it will improve your cognitive function, ask your LCMC Health provider whether it’s a good idea.

Need more advice on boosting your brain health? Trust the medical experts at LCMC Health. Request an appointment today.