So, do you want to keep your brain as sharp as a tack for as long as possible? You’re not alone. With no natural cure for Alzheimer’s and the average person experiencing the first symptoms of memory loss at age 64, it pays to know what you can do now to maintain and improve your cognitive abilities.
A steady diet of healthy foods, regular exercise and aerobic exercise, a fully stocked brain pharmacy, not smoking, and plenty of sleep are some of the ways to keep your mind in tip-top shape.
Here are six simple things you can do to slow down memory loss and stave off other symptoms of “brain fog”.
Avoid Stressed Out- Make Stress Management a Priority
Any activity that is taxing on your mental processes increases stress. Stress takes its toll on the body and brain in a variety of ways, including increased risk for high blood pressure and heart disease, as well as damaging cells in the hippocampus.
Stress also triggers the release of cortisol, the major stress hormone. Over time, elevated levels of cortisol can lead to weight gain and the storage of belly fat around your tummy and waist. Belly fat is dangerous because it raises your blood pressure and contributes to insulin resistance (a major risk factor for diabetes.)
Stress management is important for optimal brain function at any age, but it is especially critical as we get older because our brains rely more heavily on the medulla oblongata, which connects our brain stem with our spinal cord. As this area becomes more compressed by fat and inflammation around it, we are also more prone to chronic fatigue.
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Watch Your Intake of Sugar – Yes, Sugar
As you age, your blood sugar starts to rise. That can lead to memory loss and anxiety. It is a vicious cycle consisting of a rise in stress hormones that interfere with proper brain functioning and a subsequent reduction in the production of hippocampal cells. At the same time, we experience an increase in cortisol which interferes with memory formation.
The simple solution is to maintain optimal blood sugar levels by avoiding refined sugars and maintaining good levels of thyroid hormone (more on thyroid later.) A diet high in omega 3 fats and grass-fed animal products helps keep blood sugar levels balanced and hormones working optimally.
Play puzzles Game
When we design and play puzzles, our brains get a boost in cognitive skills that we need in order to perform at our best. Puzzle games also help to boost short-term memory and attention skills.
We know that when we do puzzles, our brains will be challenged. But what puzzles can do for us is so much more than this. Puzzles can increase the number of connections between the brain’s neurons. They also increase blood flow to the brain and release neurotransmitters which keep it healthy and happy!
Play video games
Playing video games can have a huge impact on your cognitive function.
The reason why playing video games can have a huge impact on your cognitive function is because it stimulates the brain by providing an alternate reality for players to escape to, which makes their brains work harder.
Playing video games provides brain stimulation that prevents cognitive decline, which is one of the causes of Alzheimer’s disease. Playing video games also increases levels of dopamine, which is the chemical responsible for feelings of happiness and excitement.
Learn to play a musical instrument
Playing a musical instrument is amazing for your mental health. It can make you smarter, improve your memory, and protect against dementia.
Playing an instrument requires a ton of concentration. When you are playing the music, it takes all of your mental energy to focus on what you are playing. This leaves nothing left over to think about anything else – whether that is stressful thoughts or worries that are plaguing you in real life.
The combination of being so focused on music and being so physically engaged with an instrument lead to numerous positive effects throughout the rest of the day.