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Seniors can preserve brain health with nutrition, activities

Laramie Boomerang - 3/9/2017

METRO - Physical activity and proper diet and nutrition can help people 50 and older maintain their physical health.

But there are also ways aging people can preserve brain health in an effort to prevent or delay the cognitive decline that affects millions of seniors around the globe. It's easy to overlook the importance of keeping the brain healthy. However, a decline in brain function can result in poor concentration, memory loss and a host of other problems. Sometimes, by the time symptoms present themselves, it might be too late to reverse any damage.

Research suggests a combination of nutrition and mental, social and physical activities might have a greater affect with regard to maintaining and improving brain health than any single activity. Harvard Medical School also states volunteering, caring for others and pursuing hobbies could benefit the brains of older adults.

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found participants who reported higher levels of purpose in life exhibited superior cognitive function despite the accumulation of abnormal protein depositions (amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Having a purpose also might help those who do not have Alzheimer's disease.

In addition to the suggestions mentioned above, those who want to boost brain health can consider these strategies:

START EXERCISING THE BRAIN EARLY ON

A study published in 2012 in the British Medical Journal examined cognitive function in people ages 45-70. Researchers found evidence of cognitive decline in the 45-yearold participants as well as the older participants. It's never too early to put a brain health plan into motion.

READ MORE BOOKS

Reading can open individuals up to new vocabulary and scenarios that promote a stronger brain and recall ability. Enrolling in an education course at a local college, community center or online also might be beneficial.

HIT THE GYM

Several studies suggest an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline. This could be because exercise elevates heart rate, which pumps more blood to the brain and body.

SUPPLEMENT WITH DHA

DHA is an omega-3 fatty acid dominant in the brain. Adhere to a Mediterranean diet, which is generally high in natural sources of omega-3, including fish and mono-unsaturated fats from olives, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Supplements also could help, but individuals should consult with their doctors about which products to take.

CHALLENGE THE MIND

People can engage in challenging activities that stray from their routines. Puzzles, strategic games, jigsaw puzzles, or difficult hobbies can benefit the brain.

KEEP A CLOSE-KNIT GROUP OF FRIENDS

Regular conversation and social interaction is a key component of any brain health wellness plan.

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Slowing cognitive decline and promoting greater brain health should be a priority for adults of all ages.

 
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