Cognitive decline. It doesn’t sound fun, right?
Far from it! Dwindling mental faculties, growing levels of confusion, and ever-worsening memory loss are all terrifying prospects. Unfortunately for us, though, they’re also a natural part of life.
The years roll by and our brain health starts to suffer. Indeed, subjective cognitive decline is present in around 11% of the population at any given time. That’s 1 in 9 adults who claim to experience the symptoms we just described.
Ready for the good news? There’s plenty of steps we can take to bolster our cognitive defenses and allay the onset of these issues. Want to learn about some of the best ways to do it?
Let us help! Keep reading for a selection of effective strategies to stimulate brain development and prevent its deterioration.
Exercise Your Body
Most of us already know that getting regular physical exercise is essential to living a long, happy, and healthy life. However, fewer people appreciate its role in facilitating cognitive health.
It’s true though!
Exercise oxygenates your brain, lowers your stress levels, and reduces your susceptibility to a range of disorders (such as diabetes) that can affect cognitive ability. There's no time like the present to start going to the gym, running, playing sports, and doing anything else you can to get the blood pumping on a regular basis. It’s sure to improve your brain function and keep your mind (and body) in better condition.
Exercise Your Mind
Don't stop there though- be sure to work up a mental sweat as well! Brain training’s no joke. Get into the habit of exercising your mind and you’ll reap a range of rewards well into old age.
Effective mental exercise all comes down to stimulation. Our brains need to be continuously tickled and challenged to stop them from degenerating. After all, as the old saying goes, if you don’t use it, you lose it.
You have to exert your mind, feel the cognitive discomfort of extending your mental capabilities, and shake-up your usual habits. You could do Sudoku puzzles, try brushing your teeth with the opposite hand, or learn a new language. Anything that challenges your brain and keeps it engaged will help you stay sharper for longer.
Eat a Healthier Diet
The food and beverages you consume also make a difference in this domain. It’s important to be selective with your diet to ensure your brain gets all the energy, antioxidants, and key nutrients it needs to stay healthy.
Cutting down on saturated fats and eating enough fruit, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids (fish, spinach, flaxseed, and pinto beans are a few possible sources of this) is a great place to start.
From there, you could think about incorporating brain-boosting supplements into your diet as well. From B-vitamins and L-theanine to Omega-3s and caffeine, you’ll find a wide range of beneficial supplements on the shelves.
Tackle Any Underlying Health Issues
Cognitive decline isn’t always a symptom of aging. There’s actually a whole plethora of factors that can come into play! Certain lifestyle choices, medical treatments, and underlying health conditions are just a few of them.
High blood pressure, diabetes, and side-effects from prescription medication could all be behind someone’s apparent cognitive decline. Identifying these issues is an important part of protecting yourself from further problems. Always speak to a medical professional to get to the bottom of the problem and access appropriate solutions.
Get Enough Sleep Each Night
There's nothing fun about getting a bad night’s sleep. Among a wealth of other nasty side-effects, you wake up feeling groggy, irritable, and unfocused. Even worse, poor sleeping patterns over extended time periods can lead to more serious health issues, including various forms of cognitive decline (such as memory loss and trouble problem-solving).
In the same way, sleeping longer and deeper can deliver a host of cognitive rewards! Reducing the amount of caffeine you drink, buying a better mattress, exercising more, limiting screen-time before bed, and developing a regular sleep schedule are all good ways to tap into them.
Maintain an Active Social Life
An active social life is another almighty boon when it comes to staying sharp. Remember, we’re social animals, which means we need to connect with others and feel like part of a tribe! It makes you feel better and has a direct impact on your health as well.
Strive to see friends and family as much as possible. Hang out, joke around, and engage in weird and wonderful conversations. Not only will these relationships and interactions stimulate and develop your brain, but they’ll also support your emotional wellbeing as a result. Everything from your memory to your stress-levels tends to improve thereafter.
Stop Smoking & Abusing Alcohol
Remember when we said that certain lifestyle choices impact peoples' brain health too? Well, smoking and drinking alcohol to excess are two prime examples of this in action. Why?
Because both smokers and heavy drinkers are known to be at higher risk of developing cognitive disorders, such as dementia (alongside a large number of other physical and mental problems). That’s why it makes sense to quit smoking and cut back on the booze!
However, you might not want to stop drinking altogether. Indeed, wine (in moderation) has been linked to various neurological advantages. A tipple or two in the evenings could actually stave off cognitive decline!
Remember These Tips for Improving Brain Health
Let’s face it, the idea of getting older and losing your mental faculties is never a fun one to entertain. In fact, it’s much easier to bury your head in the sand and hope it won’t happen!
The good news is that a multitude of steps and strategies can protect against the onset of cognitive decline. With any luck, this post has highlighted a selection of the best! Put any and all of them into action and you should enjoy a sharper, more focused mind well into the future.
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