Keeping your brain healthy is not just a case of taking a combination of vitamins and minerals. Just as we need to take into consideration how much was eat in proportion to how much we exercise in order to maintain a healthy heart, the brain works in the same way.
Brain health is not just about chemical make-up. The brain has a major responsibility in controlling every part of our body and all our decision-making processes. It is therefore important to keep it active. Where physical limitations do not allow people to get about as much as they perhaps once did, maintaining mental stimulation becomes even more important. Studies show that although mental deterioration is part and parcel of the aging process due to altered connections in the brain, continuing to engage in mental stimulative exercises helps to keep generating new brain cells and maintain healthy connections between them.
The brain is a complex organ and therefore needs to be kept mentally active in order to keep in shape. Learning new things such as dance moves or even doing crossword puzzles and challenging your brain to work hard can activate the brain’s motor centers to form new cells and neural transmissions. “Practice makes perfect” is more than just a timeless expression, the more you use any part of your body, the more flexible it becomes and better at the activity at hand. When we stop exercising our brain, the neuronal connections that hold our memories simply start to fade and we begin to “forget”.
Diet is obviously a key component in keeping our brain in ship shape condition as it helps to fuel our body energy levels. The brain is an organ just like any other and needs a healthy balance of minerals and other essential food components to stay alive. In studies on dementia, results showed that people with high cholesterol and high blood pressure stemming from excess body weight, bad diet and lack of exercise, had six times the risk of developing the mentally limiting brain disease. Studies concerning the lack of what are known as Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA), explains that something as simple as vitamin deficiency and the lack of these healthy fatty acid compounds such as can be found in fish, can significantly slow down the brain’s activity.
Presenting a high consumption of monounsaturated fat over saturated fat as investigated by the University of Miami, it is no wonder that the “Mediterranean Diet” with fish, fresh vegetables, olive oil and a modest consumption of red wine at its core, is one of the most recommended food regimes world wide for general health and well being.
Staying young at heart takes on a new meaning when a study involving men and women 65 years of age and over, clearly demonstrated that those engaged in social or leisure activities displayed a lower risk of developing dementia. Social interaction naturally stimulates brain activity so it makes sense that those leading a healthy social life are more likely to prolong the onset of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, lesson symptoms and even counteract the risk.
Neurological Studies carried out at University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Cognitive Ageing and Epidemiology have shown that elderly people who are more physically active on a regular basis show less brain shrinkage and better overall brain health. Even based activities such a walking or gardening can stimulate brain cell replenishment and growth of grey matter that offers improved memory.
As physical activity has also been proven to significantly lower Cholesterol levels and brain health studies show that a high level of cholesterol can seriously affect brain health by limiting the amount of blood and nutrients reaching the brain and impeding the brain’s electrical activity, it is even more important to keep exercising.
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