Over the years, technology changes, research ability changes, and data changes. More and more research and studies are completed to determine what is necessary to keep our brain healthy. Years ago, seniors didn’t get Alzheimer’s, they got a little senile. So in the year of 2019, research reveals that to keep our brain healthy we must do several things.
1. Exercise. It is recommended to get 20 minutes a day for five days a week. The exercise should make you break a sweat.
2. Be social. This is a big one. The more socially active you are, the more neurons are fired in the brain.
3. Do brain games: crossword puzzles, word search, play cards. (Playing cards with friends is another bonus.)
4. Eat healthy. There is growing data on the benefits of a Mediterranean Diet. This limits red meats and definitely pushes the veggies. The reason for this is that eating a Mediterranean Diet limits damaging inflammatory foods. Red meats are still allowed, but very limited. Low mercury fish like salmon, shrimp and scallops are known as healthy brain food. Fatty fish with omega 3’s and 6 are the best choice.
Eat leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli. They are packed with nutrients and are high in vitamin A and C. It is now known that a deficiency of these vitamins are linked to an increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Eat berries; they reduce plaque built up in the brain. Nuts, a handful a day of walnuts, almonds, cashews, seems they all help. Reduce sugar; it is known to form plaque.
5. Enjoy a little champagne. Studies show limited consumption helps slow mental decline. Pinot meunière, and Pinot noir grapes produce phenolic during fermentation. This helps to alter proteins in the brain that are responsible for memory storage. Three glasses a week is the lucky number.
6. Caffeine. A study showed that 200 mg of caffeine improved memory tests. Caffeine itself as a stimulant and also as an anti-inflammatory can block brain inflammation and therefore, reduce cognitive decline. Three to five cups of coffee in the morning is what to strive for. If you don’t like coffee, try drinking high flavonoid dark chocolate. Flavonoids fight off dementia. Don’t like either of those, try drinking turmeric tea. Turmeric and vitamin D3 can reduce brain plaque.
7. Cinnamon. Tastes good and it reduces the build-up of protein plaque in the brain. It too is an anti-inflammatory if eaten.
8. Meditate. This reduces stress and helps to improve blood flow to the brain. Try just 12-15 minutes a day.
9. Get annual physicals. Keep up with your blood pressure and your blood sugar.
And finally ...
10. Monitor your hearing. Get a hearing test annually. If you have even a mild hearing loss, it is known that not correcting your hearing with a hearing aid causes the gray matter in the brain to start to shrink. In fact, if you don’t correct your hearing loss adequately, it may increase the onset of dementia by up to 31%.
11: Wear your hearing aids a minimum of 12 hours per day. Research released in September 2018 shows that 12 hours of auditory stimulation through your hearing aids is necessary to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s. Until this past September, it was actually believed that seven hours a day of hearing aid usage was enough. It is not. Put them in when you get up in the morning and wear them all day.
Don’t just be present; be alive and energized. Wear them and enjoy your friends and family. The more you stimulate your brain, the healthier your brain will stay. The more stimulus you give your brain, the more alert you will stay. Be proactive, be social, be involved. Everyone should have an annual hearing exam. Call your hearing healthcare provider today. To hear better is to live better!
Roseann B. Kiefer, B.A., BC-HIS, is owner of Lampe and Kiefer Hearing Aid Center, Sebring. This information is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat or cure your condition. Always talk to your doctor before following any medical advice or starting a diet or exercise program.