How Can You Keep Your Brain Sharp To Avoid Dementia?
by Jane Chitty
We are always being told that, to keep Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia at bay, we need to keep making new pathways in our brains.
As we grow older, we must not just keep doing the same old things over and over again.
Here are some ways you can make those new pathways
Crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. With these two, crossword puzzles challenge the language and memory areas of the brain while jigsaw puzzles provide exercise for the parietal lobes which are the paired lobes of the brain at the top of the head, including areas concerned with the reception and correlation of sensory information. Challenge your brain with these and even go further by trying to master a new skill. How about painting, learning to play a musical instrument or perhaps mastering a new language?
Here is something different! Think backwards or upside down. This worksby trying these different challenges such aseating or cleaning your teeth with your "wrong" hand or wearing your watch on the opposite wrist for a day. Think of your own different ideas.
Exercise and there are so many reasons to keep or even start moving but regular exercise can boost your brain power by preserving brain tissue and helping increase the number of synapses in your brain. In the central nervous system, a synapse is a small gap at the end of a neuron that allows a signal to pass from one neuron to the next. Synapses are found where nerve cells connect with other nerve cells. Synapses are key to the brain's function, especially when it comes to memory.
Find ways to meet new people. This too can help to keep the brain sharper while social isolation can lead to depression. Suggested ways (if you are retired) can be through joining a book group, taking a part-time job or volunteering. These suggestions can keep your brain sharper.
There are also nutrients that we can add to our diet too
B Vitamins provide tremendous benefit to brain health and function with B12 in particular helping to prevent brain shrinkage - a symptom commonly seen among those with dementia and Alzheimer's. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin that is often known as our “memory-boosting, brain health” nutrient. In addition, B12 assists in the formation and maintenance of the myelin sheath – the protective layer that safeguards brain and nervous system signals.
Coconut oil is a good way to fuel our brain cells that cannot utilize carbs and shows exceptional promise in helping to prevent dementia and Alzheimer's. I have been taking my daily big spoonful of organic coconut oil for several years as my own form of insurance!
Omega-3 DHA is another nutrient. DHA is short for docosahexaeonic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid. Without enough of this DHA, brain cell communication is significantly compromised, affecting memory recall and even jeopardizing brain health.
Curcumin or turmeric. This anti inflammatory spice (with powerful antioxidant properties) inhibits the formation of amyloid plaque, a major cause of dementia.
Antioxidants - and anthocyanidins in particular - are found in fruits such blueberries, strawberries, cherries and elderberries providing powerful protection to brain cells, due to their ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.
Vitamin D has a major impact on brain function. Recent studies have emphasised the importance of dailyvitamin D supplementation to ward off dementia because it has been found that those over the age of 60, and who have a vitamin D deficiency, experience quicker mental decline – as much as three times faster than those with adequate readings.
Fortunately, it is easy to raise your vitamin D levels either with the help of sunlight or if not possible, with vitamin D3 supplements.
Jane writes for Healing Natural Oils, a producer and retailer of high-quality, all-natural treatments for a variety of conditions as well as a range of beauty products. Apart from writing about those various conditions, she also covers general health, environmental and other subjects of interest. She has lived in Kenya as well as Cape Town, South Africa and spent time in San Diego, USA. She now lives in Somerset, England with regular visits from her far-flung children and grandchildren. She is a keen gardener and enjoys growing fresh fruit and vegetables with her husband on their joint allotment. As a result, there is something available to use in the kitchen virtually all year round. Her regular posts can be found on our blog.