One of the biggest concerns as we age is the issue of memory; over 6 million Americans have now been diagnosed with Alzhiemer’s. With increasing frequency, people watch as their aging family members succumb to memory loss and are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and dementia. They often cannot think of a more miserable fate for their lives and their family members’ lives who often become caretakers. “Memory” and “cognition” aids are coming onto the market at rapid speed— mainly to provide hope for a quick-fix for memory loss and lack of focus. The truth is, just like for so many other degenerative health conditions, how we live now (our lifestyle, our daily habits) is what determines much of the outcome of our quality of life as we age. Because stress plays such a major role in brain function and memory, a major field of study right now is how to create resiliency for the body and mind. Resiliency is your ability to handle stress, to bounce back from stressful time periods of life, and create a sense of wellbeing even in the midst of the chaos that life can bring. I wanted to give you my top 5 strategies for having a plan to keep your brain function STRONG AND HEALTHY as you age, improving your resiliency in the process (watch for a class on improving resiliency coming on November 15th, virtually at Body In Balance).
1. Exercise: Exercise reduces inflammation, improves blood sugar stabilization, stimulates the release of growth factors that affect the health of brain cells, allows for the growth of blood vessels in the brain, and even allows for the survival of new brain cells. Cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and mobility work all have benefits and should be included in a routine. Start wherever you can but have a plan for increasing fitness gradually over time—your brain and body will thank you.
2. Eat Well: The connection between blood sugar issues, diet, and cognition has been well established. In fact, Alzheimer’s is often referred to as Type 3 Diabetes. Eating a diet rich in vegetables, some fruits (especially berries), healthy sources of protein and some fat is essential for stabilizing blood sugar. Foods rich in antioxidants protect the brain from free radical damage. For example, a study showed that eating a cup of blueberries daily could reverse cognitive decline up to 10 years. Foods rich in Omega 3 fatty acids are key for protecting the health of cell membranes and assisting with neuron to neuron communication.
3. Meditate: Learning to meditate is key for stress management and brain health. Meditation improves attention span, focus, anxiety, depression, and can even improve executive functioning (decision making, processing information, etc.).
4. Sleep: It is well known that lack of sleep negatively affects memory and cognition. The quality of sleep you get is a biproduct of nutrients, stress management, and movement throughout the day. Sleep allows your body to flush toxins from the brain that could cause damage, but restorative sleep also greatly improves memory.
5. Receive NSA adjustments: The type of work Dr. Scott and I perform at Body In Balance (Network Spinal Analysis) improves brain efficiency, improves adaptation and resiliency to stress, improves neurological integrity, and decreases pain (pain has a huge effect on memory, cognition, and mood).
Having a proactive plan for brain health (even better a plan that addresses all aspects of health and improves resiliency) is key for preventing degenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s and dementia. If you would like to see if the work we do at Body In Balance could be of help to you on your health journey, call us at 303-215-0390! Procrastination is the absolute thief of health, so take ACTION! Remember, Create Health by Choice, Not by Chance!