When we think about healthy aging we usually think about all the physical changes our bodies go through. But what about staying mentally sharp and aware? Good brain health is equally important for healthy aging. Here are 5 things you can do to help sharpen your aging brain.
1. Manage Stress Positive thinking has an effect on brain health and can help with managing stress. Thinking positive thoughts about yourself helps build self confidence which can have an effect on your performance and outlook on life. Having a positive life attitude can help reduce stress. Meditation and muscle relaxation are other ways to help with managing stress.
2. Sleep Getting enough sleep is not only good for physical health, but also can be good for mental health. Being rested can improve your reaction time and decision making. You should get at least 7-9 hours and possibly more if under stress.
3. Exercise Memory decline can be a result of brain shrinkage as we get into our older years. Exercise can have a lot to do with staying mentally sharp and overall brain health. A study in the journal Neurology reports that people studied who remained physically active as they aged tended to have larger brains than those that did not participate in regular exercise. The research study showed that people who were more physically active had larger brain volumes of gray and normal white matter and less brain atrophy. It also linked regular exercise as a protection against white matter lesions forming which can be linked to thinking and memory decline.
4. Nutrition Good brain health depends on getting special micro-nutrients that can pass through the blood brain barrier (BBB). Nutrients have to not only be small enough but also paired with the right proteins to cross the BBB. The blood-brain barrier is a protective network of blood vessels and cells that filters blood flowing to the brain, thereby shielding the central nervous system from contaminants. It protects the brain from many common bacterial infections. The nutrients the brain needs are found mostly in whole natural foods. However the blood brain barrier can act as a filter keeping out nutrients in the form of less-than-perfect foods we all consume. Being the hungriest organ in the body, the brain needs the nutrients to feed itself, but unfortunately the fillers or refined aspects of many foods prevent the good stuff from ever reaching it. One solution for getting these vital nutrients is from a form of blue-green algae that is a special stripped-down version of the algae cell allowing it to pass through the BBB. This form of blue-green algae known as Aphanizomenon flos-aquae is acknowledged as the oldest complete food on the planet and provides just about every nutrient your body needs, in the form of a living, single-cell, raw food that is highly assimilable. The amino acids found in this blue green algae are the building blocks of the healthy nerve cells and neurotransmitters vital for proper brain function. It also provides essential omega-3 fatty acids necessary for cardiovascular health and helps maintain normal, healthy blood chemistry which means it feeds the blood that feeds the brain.
5. Supplementing for Brain Health Another blue green algae supplement that is supportive of brain health and for high performance athletes and those who maintain an active lifestyle has the added ingredients of bee pollen, wheatgrass juice, Hawaiian noni, eleuthero, ginkgo biloba, and turmeric. Bee pollen is reported to have a high amino acid content useful for stimulating memory and concentration. Wheatgrass juice has been found to provide nutrients that support brain health and clearer thinking. Many people have used gingko for a long time to promote increased memory and mental concentration by increasing circulation and providing increased oxygenation of brain cells. Curcumin, found in turmeric, has been the basis of much research and found to have benefit for enhancing memory, as an anti-inflammatory, for enhancing nerve growth in areas of the brain and as an antidepressant. It is also being studied and used in relation to treating Alzheimer’s. This supplement gives you a combination of all these brain boosting ingredients in a single capsule as an alternative for natural brain health support.
Keeping your brain sharp can help you enjoy your senior years. Stay active, feed your brain the nutrition it needs, get enough sleep, exercise and manage your stress and you will improve your chances of healthy aging as you enter your golden years.
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