There are a few things that we know happen as we get older. We tend to walk a little slower, we tend to listen a little closer. and our brains can get a little foggy.
But, how much we forget actually depends a lot on our brain health.
Dementia is a frightening prospect, but it is a disease that researchers are learning more about every day. Some risk factors are completely out of your control. We all age, and we certainly didn't choose our genetics, but many risk factors are able to be controlled by a change of diet, exercise and mental stimulation.
Doctors may ask patients to change their diet, but there is a good reason for it. Obesity is a key risk for dementia. According to research done by the Garrison Institute on Aging, one of the best diets to stave off dementia is the Mediterranean diet, full of omega-3 fatty acids. Cold-water fish are high in omega-3 fats, which are actually shown to reduce amyloid-beta concentrations in the brain.
Trading in high sugar carbohydrates and trans fats for legumes, whole grains and vegetables can decrease dramatic blood sugar spikes that cause inflammation to the brain. In addition to reducing the risk of dementia, this diet also reduces inflammation in the body, decrease insulin resistance and lower the risk of certain cancers.
When we think about exercise, we often think about hitting the gym really hard, but you don't have to be like the Rock to be healthy. In truth, exercise can be as simple as walking the dog in the park or doing some gardening. Finding activities that are both mentally and physically engaging are paramount to keeping active.
So while doing these activities, try to think like a detective - always ask who, what, when, where and why. And try to keep your mind in motion by reading a new book, by picking up new skills. All of these things can help to keep your brain healthy.