Today we talk about ways to lessen one's chances of developing dementia, aside from dietary changes. Other than eliminating foods from our diet that may hinder brain function, or adding foods that enhance brain function, what can we do to keep our minds sharp as we age?
The first action step you can take to keep your mind healthy is to physically exercise the rest of the body. By keeping our limbs and muscles active, we are not only enhancing the flow of oxygen throughout our bodies, we're continually working our brains, as well. Every move you make requires a message from your brain to be sent to your muscles. So, the more you move, the more you're exercising that part of your brain.
What seems to be equally important for your brain's health is mental exercise. You know that saying, "Use it or lose it"? Well, that seems to be very true when it comes to brain function. Scientists have found that the more mentally active an individual is, the healthier their brains are (and the more they can remember) as they age.
There are many ways to continually exercise your mind. Reading, as we mentioned in a previous post, is an enjoyable way to keep the brain young and fresh. Playing games, especially those that are challenging, is also extremely beneficial to one's mental health. Chess, board games, card games, picture puzzles, and crossword puzzles are popular activities many individuals enjoy. The more you play games, the healthier your mind is going to be.
Challenging your thinking and learning new subjects and skills is something many sharp-witted individuals have in common. Learning to play an instruments, speak a new language, or even dance a new way can produce a lot of mental stimulation. That mental stimulation seems to be accumulative, also -- the more you learn, on a consistent basis, the stronger and healthier your mind tends to be as you age. It's never too late to add more mental exercises into your daily routine, though, if you haven't been regularly challenging your mind.
Another powerful mind enhancer is having an active social life. The more you interact with others, on a regular basis, the stronger your memory functions will be in the future. Those who are isolated, lacking a lot of mental stimulation through interactions with others, tend to have a tougher time with remembering current events, as well as past events.
Combining mind games with social activities is a powerful combination for keeping the mind active and young. If you haven't played a game with others in a long time, why not think about organizing a fun game evening sometime soon? It doesn't have to be a huge party, just a time to spend with one or more friends, actively playing a game and sharing a fun time together. Add in some heart-healthy foods that are also anti-inflammatory and you've got yourself a powerful set of tools to keep dementia from ever being a part of your life.
Aside from diet and physical and mental exercises, it's also important to limit one's exposure to aluminum and environmental toxins (including those found in common household cleaning agents). If you aren't aware of the link between aluminum and Alzheimer's please do some additional research. Aluminum is commonly found in canned foods, antiperspirants, cookware, antacids, and canned beverages. It's very important to avoid aluminum as much as possible in your life, since it's also being detected in the air and water over the past year, or so. The more you can eliminate your exposure to it, the better.
I also came across something interesting in my research on eliminating one's chances of developing dementia or alzheimer's. Of all the research that has been done on finding things to decrease one's chances of developing memory loss, there is only one thing that has been consistently found to aid individuals in keeping a healthy mind. It turns out that Medical Marijuana has been extremely effective in eliminating Alzheimer's. Maybe it's because I've never been into using drugs, so I probably don't fully understand it, but I always pictured those who smoke marijuana to be a bit dull-minded and forgetful (and in fact, as though they are *killing* their brain cells). I guess we all learn something new every day...it turns out their brains are actually being stimulated in healthy ways. Of course, we're not advocating the use of illegal drugs in order to keep your mind young and active, but we did want to share that medical marijuana seems to be the most promising natural way to stay mentally sharp well into the centenarian years.