Every 3 seconds, someone in the world develops dementia. It’s a common problem among older adults, and most of us have seen the kind of destruction this disease causes. But what if there’s something you can do now to help boost your odds of avoiding cognitive decline later in life?
Well, there are no guarantees. But there are a few things you can do to strengthen your mind while you’re young.
Make a habit of stimulating your mind
Unfortunately, binge-watching Netflix does not count as mental stimulation – even if you’re watching a history documentary. Research shows that certain activities can stimulate new connections between your brain’s nerve cells and even help the brain develop new cells. Here are a few ideas:
- Do crossword puzzles
- Practice brain teasing activities
- Do math in your head instead of using a calculator
Even things that require physical action and mental stimulation count. These are creative things like drawing or dancing.
Your mind and body work together in a very complex system that makes up who you are. As such, you can stimulate the mind by moving your body. Studies have shown that animals that exercise regularly increase the amount of blood vessels that bring blood to the brain. Exercise can also help increase connections between your brain cells, which will make you more efficient and adaptive.
We all now that exercise is just plain good for the body, so do you really need more reasons? Get out there and get moving to keep your brain and body young.
Drink alcohol in moderation
People who drink alcohol in excess are at greater risk for developing dementia. This one is a very serious link, so if you’re drinking too much, it’s time to stop. Not only are people who drink a lot of alcohol more likely to get age-related dementia, but alcohol can actually cause a specific type of dementia. This is because alcohol kills brain cells at an accelerated rate.
If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, the good news is that you’re probably still young enough to turn things around before you experience alcohol-induced dementia. Find an alcohol rehab near you and start treatment as soon as possible.
If you aren’t supplying your brain with the right nutrients, it simply can’t do its job as well as it should. Nutrient deficiencies can cause brain fog, memory issues and cognitive decline in the short-term. In the long term, they can lead to dementia and other issues. Now is the time to start cleaning up your diet. Eat more fruits and veggies and avoid processed foods to keep your brain young and healthy.
There’s no time like the present to start taking care of your brain. Fortunately, it’s probably easier than you think. All you have to do is adopt health habits like good nutrition and regular exercise, and challenge your brain daily. Over time, you should notice that your brain feels sharper than it did before. Keep it up and your mind is likely to stay healthy into old age.