For many years, research has shown that the practice of pro-active self-care will lead to better physical and emotional health. We have more control over our health outcomes than many realize. The mind and body are closely linked. Therefore, we can exert control in various areas to improve our health and well-being.
The following items are areas which indicate that we can improve our health, thus improving our daily functioning.
- Blood Pressure: Control of blood pressure has significant positive impact in lessening the development of physical illness and cognitive disability.
- Exercise: Studies show that aerobic exercise increases blood flow to the brain helping maintain healthier brain tissue and lessening cognitive decline. Exercise is an invaluable addition to aiding ability to concentrate, focus, and improve executive functioning.
- Cognitive Training: Research show that higher levels of education or cognitive self-improvement increases the development of cognitive reserve which assists the brain’s ability to slow neurologic damage.
Suggested activities to lessen brain shrinkage are:
• Connecting with people
• Developing and engaging in hobbies
• Practicing spirituality
- Diet: Food with low level of fats and added sugars are shown to promote both physical and emotional health.
Some special diets that promote good physical and emotional heath can be found online. They are as follows: the Mediterranean Diet, the Dash Diet and the Mind Diet.
- Sleep: Studies indicate that sleep strengthens some brain synapses(connections) while diminishing others. Another theory suggests that sleep eliminates toxic substances that can cause disease.
Healthy sleep habits contribute to improved brain health.
- Meditation and Mindfulness: To enable a person to be more at peace with themselves, and to be positive in daily living will promote clarity in brain functioning.
- Spirituality: Helps individuals find hope and meaning in their lives.
Developing healthy habits has shown to preserve brain health. Ongoing studies emphasize the value of proper nutrition with diminished sugar intake, weight and blood pressure control. Computer brain training can challenge the brain and help improve memory.
The above contribute to improving mental acuity and executive functioning.
Remember, these are guidelines that individuals can use to improve well-being in a positive and pro-active manner in order to achieve brain health.
- Anne Tergesen “What Science Tells Us About Preventing Dementia”, The Wall Street Journal, November 18, 2019
- Meghann Finn Sepulveda “Transform your Well-Being,” Arizona Republic, May 2017
Article by Sheldon P. Wagman – DO, FACN, DLFAPA