Think About Your Future. Maintain Your Brain Today
When people think about staying fit, they generally think from the neck down. But the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, and playing – even sleeping. The good news is that we now know there’s a lot you can do to help keep your brain healthier as you age. These steps might also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
Make brain-healthy life choices: Like other parts of your body, your brain may lose some agility as you get older. It can deteriorate even more if you don’t take care of it. Science is unlocking many of the mysteries of the brain, but we don’t have all the answers yet. You can do everything “right” and still not prevent Alzheimer’s disease. What’s offered here is the best information available so that you can make your own decisions about your health.
Be heart smart: High blood pressure, heart disease and stroke are risk factors for dementia. So remember, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Control your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar to help reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Adopt a brain-healthy diet: Research suggests that high cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. A low fat, low cholesterol diet is advisable. And there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits, which contain antioxidants, may help protect brain cells.
Stay physically active: Physical exercise is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. It also can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s.
Stay mentally active: Mentally stimulating activities strengthen brain cells and the connections between them, and may even create new nerve cells.
Remain socially involved: Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells.
For more information on Maintaining Your Brain call the Alzheimer’s Association’s 24-hour Helpline at 800-272-3900 or visit www.alz.org