How To Anti-Age Your Brain

Did you know you can anti-age your brain? According to brain fitness specialist and author of Future Brain, Dr Jenny Brockis, it’s our lifestyle choices that determine how well we age.

At what age does the brain decline?

Columbia University tell us that the brain has reached 90% of its full volume by the age of 6 years old, but by the time we enter our thirties and forties, the brain begins shrinking, with the rate of shrinkage increasing once we hit our sixties. While mental decline is common, particularly in western society, cognitive impairment is not inevitable, and in fact, there are steps we can take that can maintain brain function and anti-age our brains.

“As shown in the FINGER study, by following a combination of healthy nutrition, exercise, cognitive training and social activity can improve or maintain cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline,” says Dr Jenny, who outlines seven ways to anti-age your brain:

Ways we can help protect the brain from ageing:

Foods that improve brain function:

Choose those foods that boost your mood and cognition as outlined in the MIND diet; leafy greens, other vegetables, berries, fish, poultry, legumes, whole grains, seeds and nuts. Real food that is fresh, unprocessed and mostly plant based is the way to a healthy brain.

How does stress affect the brain?

Chronic severe stress puts us at risk of mental illness and cognitive decline. Make stress management part of your regular routine to build greater stress resistance. This can be achieved in a variety of ways including listening to music, going for a walk, and practising relaxation techniques including yoga, Pilates or a meditation practice.

anti age brain

Photo by DS stories

Activities that stimulate the brain:

Stretch your mental muscle to avoid brain rust. Choose a new activity to focus your attention on, one you don’t necessarily expect to be good at. Mix it up with plenty of variety; take a photography course, learn a new language or musical instrument or maybe learn origami to build greater cognitive reserve.

Physical exercise for brain power

Exercise is highly neuroprotective and stimulates the release of feel-good hormones, to boost mood and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It also reduces brain shrinkage that naturally occurs with age! Do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day, or 20 minutes of higher intensity training three times a week.

How sleep affects cognitive function

Sleep deprivation plays havoc with memory, concentration and mood. Getting a full seven to eight hours of good quality uninterrupted sleep is what counts, so watch your caffeine and alcohol intake, switch off your technology 90 minutes before sleep, keep your bedroom cool and dark. If sleep eludes you, a 20-minute power nap in the early afternoon works wonders as a cognitive refresher.

Socialisation slows cognitive decline

We are social creatures, hard wired to connect. Social isolation and loneliness diminishes brains, so look for opportunities to interact with others. Keep in touch with your friends, see your family often and get out to make new friends and stay curious to what is around you.

Smiling make strong minds

Our emotions are infectious. Spreading positivity germs boosts your mood, reduces stress and contributes to your overall level of happiness.

anti age your brain

Photo by Vlada Karpovich

“Following a healthy brain lifestyle is all about choice” Dr Jenny says. “While there can be no guarantee against cognitive decline or dementia, there is much we can all do at any age to preserve better brain health and function, and the earlier we start the better.”

Dr. Jenny Brockis is a medical practitioner who specialises in brain health and high performance thinking. Visit www.drjennybrockis.com to learn more.

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