Keep your brain sharp!
Dr Trindade’s top 10 tips to ward off cognitive decline
1. Get enough sleep: Several studies have shown that lack of sleep can be linked with problems in memory and thinking. We need 8 hours of sleep per night. Getting even 2 hours less can affect your brain function as well as your health.
2. Engage in regular physical activity. Physical movement and/or exercise has been linked to a reduced risk of brain decline.
3. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and low glycemic load fruits. A diet rich in antioxidants will decrease brain aging, quench free radicals and oxidative stress and can address nearly all chronic illnesses that affect your brain function. I aim for 10-12 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.
4. Balance your hormones. Ask your doctor to look at all of your hormones to make sure you are hormonally sound. This doesn’t mean you have to take hormone replacement therapy. There are many ways to balance your hormones without using hormones. Hormones are like a symphony, where each instrument or must be “tuned” and they must play well together to create beautiful music. So it is with hormones - each hormone must be balanced and it must be working optimally with the other hormones in order for you to be hormonally sound.
5. Optimize your vitamin D levels. There is a consistent link between low vitamin D levels, Alzheimer’s Disease and cognitive decline.
6. Do something everyday that you find challenging or difficult. For example, if you are right handed you could try writing with your left hand! This will encourage the formation of new neurons.
7. If you smoke, QUIT: Smoking increases the risk of brain decline and quitting can reduce a smoker's risk down to levels comparable to those of non-smokers.
8. Decrease inflammation: Anything that affects heart health, such as obesity, high blood pressure and high insulin levels, causes brain inflammation and negatively affects memory and thinking.
9. Keep learning. Do puzzles and word games that keep your neurons growing and stimulate formation of new ones.
10. Engage in social activities. Join a community group. Take a class in an area that interests you. Connection with other people maintains heart rate variability and keeps cortisol levels down which decreases inflammation levels in the brain.
The rates of mild cognitive decline and dementia are rising constantly. We have to be proactive in order to keep our brain sharp and our memory and thinking at its best. Most people I meet think there is not much that can be done to prevent dementia and cognitive decline, but in fact, that’s not true.
Mild cognitive decline in my opinion, is an inflammatory condition. That’s why it’s important to look for the root cause of inflammation in the body and remove it. Even if you’re not sure what could be causing mild cognitive decline for you, you can still start taking care of your brain right now by following these 10 tips to help keep your brain sharp!