For many years the common understanding has been that, even if we don’t develop Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, our brains are bound to age and slowly deteriorate over time. It is an unfortunate fate that we all seem destined to experience eventually, and it doesn’t do much to foster positive feelings toward the aging process. But as it turns out, this narrative is only half the story.
In the latest episode of Super Brain on The Chopra Well, doctor Deepak Chopra and neuroscientist Rudy Tanzi discuss sleep, brain health, and Alzheimer’s disease. The verdict? Our minds and actions play a larger role in brain strength and the onset of disease than that earlier understanding suggested. Researchers still don’t know the exact causes of Alzheimer’s, though having a parent or sibling with the disease has been shown to increase one’s risk. But according to Deepak and Rudy in their new book, Super Brain, there is a lot we can do to keep our brains healthy as we age and perhaps even stave off neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s.
1. Eat well. This includes quantity and quality. Avoid overeating, and stick to a healthy diet of whole, balanced nutrients. Everyone seems to have their own idea about what’s healthy and what constitutes the best diet. But at the very least, most seem to agree that dark, unprocessed fruits and vegetables are key.
2. Stay active. Regular, moderate exercise keeps blood flowing to your brain and lowers the risk of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes, which also reduces factors associated to Alzheimer’s.
3. Avoid stress. High levels of stress damage brain cells and take a toll on the body, in general. Keep your brain healthy by managing stress quickly and efficiently. Some strategies for this include maintaining social relationships and activities (the ones you enjoy!), meditating, exercising, and getting plenty of sleep.
4. Stay mentally active. You are never too old to learn a new subject or master a new skill. By pursuing new knowledge and tackling difficult puzzles throughout your life you will continue building synaptic connections and strengthening your brain.
For more on brain health, read Rudy and Deepak’s new book, Super Brain!
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