Visiting Angels, Knoxville Blog

3 Ways to Bolster Your Brain Health

June is Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month, our annual opportunity to learn more about our wonderful brains and to strategize about how we may protect them against Alzheimer’s disease. Interestingly, researchers find that the disease doesn’t seem to be caused by a single factor. They believe that Alzheimer’s is triggered by multiple risk factors; the Alzheimer’s Association explains that heredity, age, heart health and history of head injury are among these factors.

While there’s no proven formula or medication to prevent Alzheimer’s disease, according to the  Alzheimer’s Association, healthy lifestyle choices like exercising, quitting smoking and keeping the brain active and engaged may help.

The Mayo Clinic’s Dr. Jonathan Graff-Radford explains: “there's strong evidence that several factors associated with leading a healthy lifestyle may play a role in reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. However, more research is needed before any of these factors can be considered a proven strategy to prevent Alzheimer's disease. Population-based studies suggest that factors associated with overall good health may also reduce the risk of dementia and cognitive decline. These factors include regular physical activity, eating a healthy diet and keeping your brain active through lifelong learning.”

Talk with your doctor about strategies that might be most helpful for your particular case, and make a commitment to your brain health this June. Consider these tips for health living.

Life long learning

Our brains love to learn. Exercising your brain by reading and expanding what you know is fulfilling and rewarding. It’s also great for brain health. The Alzheimer’s Association recommends: “Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.”

Get your library card. Many libraries now have materials that you can read on a kindle or on your laptop, so that you can limit your public exposure during the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, consider take a class at the community center or community college (on-line class are a great option). Buy some puzzles. Work the daily crossword puzzles. Play games. All of these activities are fun and brain fueling.   

There are plenty of fun, online options to ensure pandemic safety (euchre, pinochle, Words with Friends). If you’re not yet active online, this may be a good time to connect. The Visiting Angels Social Care Program gives you the chance to learn the basics with a pro from Visiting Angels who will instruct one-on-one at a comfortable pace. Learn to connect, shop and play safely online.    

Feed your mind

Who would have thought that our diets impact our brain health? Remember that old expression: you are what you eat? That saying keeps on proving to be true. Dr. Graff-Radford suggests that using the Mediterranean diet as a guide may prove helpful in making healthy dietary choices. This means lean proteins and plenty of fruits, nuts and veggies.

Adopting this type of diet tends to be heart healthy, which in turn, benefits overall health. The Alzheimer’s Association explains: “Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke — obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes — negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.”

Exercise

Exercise is right up there with diet when it comes to maintaining basic health. Talk with your doctor about what might be right for you. Even just taking a brisk walk a couple of times a week can have a big impact, plus it’s also a lot of fun! Exercise keeps your heart pumping and your endorphins flowing. It also can help make for a more restful night of sleep, which is likewise good for the brain. It’s a win-win!

Enjoy!

Enjoy your life. Between the companionship you enjoy with your friends, family and your Visiting Angels caregiver, there is plenty to celebrate. That’s good for your soul and you brain!

Live well. Be happy. Support your beautiful brain!

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