March 14 – 21 is Brain Awareness Week
What’s the key to keeping your mind sharp and your brain healthy as you grow older? Online puzzles? Nutritional supplements? Mall walking? Pickle-ball tournaments?
The truth is, there’s no single “miracle cure” for memory problems or other brain changes that come with aging. But there is cause for optimism. Science points to a combination of social factors and healthy habits that—taken together—can help you build, preserve, and protect your brain’s function over time.
How to maintain brain health
Here are some tips for filling—and not draining—your reservoir of brain power:
- Exercise regularly
- If you smoke, quit
- Take care of your heart
- Avoid a high-sugar diet
- keep your mind stimulated
- Moderate of avoid alcohol
- sleep well
Preventing memory loss
Experts used to think brain development peaked in late adolescence and it was all downhill from there. They believed if a person lost brain cells due to problems like a head injury, stroke, or substance abuse, nothing could be done to restore memory and brain function. Now, thanks to discoveries in neuroscience, we know that the brain can grow new cells and form new neural connections. Like our muscles and other body parts, the brain can rebuild itself through repeated use and exercise.
This is great news for people who intend to live a long time. It means we can prevent memory loss by focusing on mental, physical, and social activities that promote healthy brain development. Even people with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias can benefit from a healthy lifestyle.
Explore the brain. Visit www.Dana.org
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