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7 Ways to Prevent Your Brain from Aging

7 Ways to Prevent Your Brain from Aging

October 09, 2018

As we grow older the brain naturally ages, resulting in memory loss, cognitive impairment, as well as the risk of suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Common symptoms you may notice with getting older include difficulties in learning new tasks and remembering important names. Is there anything that can be done to prevent your brain from aging? While brain aging is a natural part of growing older, there are things you can do to slow down the brain aging process. These 7 ways to prevent your brain from aging will help you to improve your memory and cognition as you grow older.

How Does the Brain Age?

Aging of the brain affects every individual differently. As a complex system, the brain is made up of 100 billion neurons, beginning development in the first few weeks of life. As we grow older, the brain develops in size and it may not fully mature until around 35 years of age.1

All our bodily functions naturally decline over time. Common symptoms of brain aging can include;

  • Difficulties in learning new tasks
  • Problems with information recall
  • Struggle to remember dates, places and names
  • Slower multitasking

These brain aging symptoms may occur for a number of reasons, such as;

  • Shrinkages in areas where cognitive functioning is involved
  • White matter which results in slower processing
  • Potentially less chemical messaging

What Factors Speed Up Brain Aging?

Research has suggested that certain factors may speed up brain aging. Depression is just one health aspect that may contribute to accelerated signs of brain aging2, while substance abuse may also be a factor.3

So, is it possible to stop brain aging? There is no magic elixir to stop the brain from aging as we grow older, but there are ways in which you can improve your memory and concentration as you age to slow down the effects of cognitive impairment.

Ways to Prevent Your Brain from Aging

Here are a few ways you can slow down signs of brain aging and improve your memory to prevent cognitive impairment.

Brain games

Brain games like Sudoku and crosswords are highly effective in boosting brain functioning to prevent brain aging. Brain training exercises can help with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. One research study suggests that brain training games can significantly reduce the risk of dementia.4

In addition to playing online brain games, you can also improve your brain functioning by learning a new language, testing your memory with recall challenges, and doing mathematics problems.

Nootropics

Nootropics are dietary supplements which aid memory, learning, recall, mood, and overall cognition. There are varying classes of nootropics – both synthetic and natural. The best synthetic nootropics include aniracetam, oxiracetam, and noopept. If you’re looking to improve your overall cognitive functioning to prevent cognitive impairment, then you may wish to start with racetams. Racetams are a class of nootropics which are synthetically made. Piracetam is an effective racetam for boosting cognition, especially in old age. Research has shown that piracetam can improve mental functioning in those with mild Alzheimer’s by returning cell functioning to normal status.5

An additional nootropic for enhancing cognitive functioning is CDP-Choline which has been shown to improve memory and learning6 as well as reduce memory impairment in people with dementia, Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases.7

Lion's Mane Mushroom has also been shown to be one of the most powerful natural nootropics known to man. Lion's Mane offers a host of benefits such as increasing neurogenesis, raising you BDNF levels and more.

Eat healthily

Healthy eating is important in the prevention of brain aging. Research has suggested that omega 3 and 6 fatty acids are associated with healthy brain aging.8

There is also research to suggest that a ‘MIND’ diet which is rich in vitamins and minerals helps to keep the brain young. This diet consists of the Mediterranean diet and the Dash diet – an eating plan that aims to lower blood pressure. The MIND diet includes berries, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, seafood, nuts, and poultry. Research has found that those partaking in the MIND diet are 52% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease and have a brain around 8 years younger than those who don’t follow this diet.9

Get moving

Exercise has been shown in several studies to boost overall cognition. 45 minutes of moderate exercise several times per week significantly improves mental cognitive functioning in people aged over 50 years of age.10

Physical exercise is often associated with the prevention of brain aging. People over 50 who take part in moderate to high-intensity exercise have also been shown to have a brain 10 years younger than those who take part in little to no exercise.11

Improve blood sugar levels

Improving blood sugar levels aids the prevention of brain aging. When too much sugar remains in the blood, it can have a negative impact on varying organs. Many studies have linked diabetes with a risk of dementia, especially type 2 diabetes. A systematic review found that those with type 2 diabetes in midlife had a 47% increased risk of suffering from dementia and a 39% increased risk of struggling with Alzheimer’s disease.12

Improve cholesterol

High LDL levels (bad cholesterol) are linked to an increased risk of dementia. High cholesterol levels are thought to enhance the production of plaques in the brain which may lead to brain disease in later life. While there is no evidence to suggest a direct link between high cholesterol and brain disease, lowering your bad cholesterol will help to keep your brain young. Eating a diet low in saturated fat and taking part in exercise can aid your cholesterol levels.

Emotional support

Those with depression or exhaustion have been shown to perform poorly on cognitive tests. A systematic review demonstrated a link between depression and a decline in overall cognitive functioning. The review of 34 longitudinal studies with over 71,000 participants found that those with depression had a greater decline in cognition, including memory and decision making than those who were not depressed.13

Receiving emotional support in cases of depression, such as cognitive behavioural therapy, may help to alleviate cognitive impairment.

These 7 ways to prevent brain aging are the most effective ways to improve your memory, learning, recall, and mental processing. While brain aging is a natural process, aiding your diet and lifestyle can have a significant effect on the rate of mental decline.

Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892678/
  2. https://www.newsweek.com/mental-illness-dementia-alzheimers-statistics-therapy-cbt-symptoms-treatment-942460
  3. https://www.fiercebiotech.com/research/large-scale-scans-point-to-cannabis-use-and-more-as-drivers-brain-aging
  4. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320093.php
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24059528
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1494300
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1776744
  8. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1028415X.2017.1324357
  9. https://www.nhs.uk/news/food-and-diet/new-brain-diet-slows-mental-decline/
  10. https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/early/2017/04/21/bjsports-2016-096846
  11. http://www.neurology.org/content/86/20/1897
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19127292
  13. https://psychcentral.com/news/2018/05/25/depression-may-speed-up-brain-aging/135654.html

 



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