Many people worry about losing their memory, as they get older. No doubt Alzheimer’s disease is more common than in years gone by. This partly reflects people living longer but also reflects how we treat and look after our brains.
Whilst there are no cast iron guarantees in this world it makes sense to do the sorts of things, which are good for the brain and make it less likely that we lose our faculties in later years.
So with this in mind here are a dozen ways to do the right thing by your brain.
You do not have to do them all on a daily basis to get the benefit.
1) Exercise the mind. Much like muscles go flabby if not used we need to exercise the brain too. This can be reading a book, searching for new information on the net, doing a crossword or anything, which causes you to think. The more we think the more connections we make and maintain in the brain.
2) Exercise the body. There are now countless studies, which show that people who exercise regularly and keep their bodies active will have more active minds. This even applies in people over 80 in case you wonder when it gets too late.
3) Eat curry. The spice turmeric has a component called curcumin and this is particularly good for the brain.
4) Eat fish. Ideally we should eat around three serves of fish each week to get our omega 3 fatty acids. Many of us do not so fish oil supplements are an alternative.
5) Get enough anti-oxidants. These protect the brain (and the rest of the body) from free radicals. The best source is fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of color in your diet.
6) Manage stress. People who are stressed are more likely to get Alzheimer’s. Do slow deep breathing or take up meditation.
7) Get enough vitamin E and B group vitamins.
8) Drink coffee. Research has shown that moderate intake of caffeine (around 2-3 cups per day) may help protect the brain.
9) Eat a Mediterranean diet rich in fruits and vegetables low in red meat and with splashes of nuts, olive oil and red wine (just a splash). Doing this will also help your weight.
10) Eat berries. Components in berries have powerful antioxidant properties and this helps protect the brain.
11) Spice up with cinnamon. This spice also has compounds, which reduce inflammation as well as helping to control blood sugar. For those with diabetes the better your sugar levels, the lower the chances of complications. For the rest of us cinnamon helps the body deal with sugar.
12) Eat some dark chocolate. The flavinoids in dark chocolate are powerful antioxidants that are good for the brain and the heart. Not that we need a reason to enjoy a bit of chocolate.
So looking after you mind is not difficult or expensive. Incorporate some or all of these ideas into your daily life.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.