We're picking up this week with the second part of Think Pretty. Check out part 1 of Think Pretty from a few weeks ago.
Three strategies to preserve your brain:
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are six main strategies to preserve your brain, and below are the first three. (Of course, these are most effective when done together.) I will address the other three in a future blog post.
#1) Eat a Brain-Healthy Diet
According to the most current research, a brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol. Like the heart, the brain needs the right balance of nutrients.
Include fruits and vegetables across the color spectrum to maximize protective antioxidants and vitamins. Daily servings of berries and green leafy vegetables should be part of your brain-protection strategy.
Avoid refined carbohydrates high in sugar and white flour, which rapidly spike glucose levels and inflame your brain.
Decrease red meat and dairy – they are high in saturated fats.
Eliminate aspartame or sugar substitutes (they are neurotoxins.)
#2) Exercise your Body
John J. Ratey, a psychiatrist who wrote the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain, says that there is overwhelming evidence that exercise produces large cognitive gains and helps fight dementia. He claims you can easily “push back cognitive decline by anywhere from 10 to 15 years” by incorporating an exercise regimen three to four times a week – even if you begin during middle age, and exercise at a moderate rate. That’s quite the incentive to keep the blood flowing to your brain!
Regular exercise promotes essential cell and tissue repair mechanisms, including growth of new brain cells.
18 different studies suggest that as your weight goes up, the physical size and function of your brain go down. Fortunately, what’s good for your waistline is also good for your brain.
Continually changing your regular exercise routine will help ensure mental as well as physical fitness.
#3) Cross Train Your Brain
Researchers suspect that mental challenge helps to build up your brain, making it less susceptible to the lesions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections.
Read, write, or learn something new every day. Remain curious and inquisitive!
Switch hands to write or brush your teeth.
Try memory exercises and become amazing at remembering other people’s names. This way, you will be boosting not only your brain, but also your influence and connection with others!
So in honor of my Mom, I am not only rededicating myself to “Thinking Pretty,” but I am also going to aggressively take care of my biggest asset – my brain. I know she would be proud!
I hope this article will empower you to start TODAY to protect and preserve your brain. You need it to accomplish your hopes and dreams, and to fulfill your unique purpose!
So, Think Pretty – the world needs you!
*While it is important to remain vigilant about maintaining good health, it is equally important to acknowledge that there are individual differences during the aging process. You should discuss any concerns you may have with a health care professional.