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When it comes to aging, there’s actually plenty to be excited about. The knowledge, wisdom, and experience that come with getting older are all extremely valuable assets that we must work hard to keep hold of. Just as our physical bodies begin to slowly decline over the years, so do our minds. Staying ahead of the game and taking preventative measures to preserve your brain is the best way of staving off deterioration.

So, what are the best ways to keep your brain sharp as you get older?

1. Eat well

There is a wealth of natural remedies available to help keep the brain in tip-top condition. For instance, Ginkgo Biloba and Omega-3 are well known for their ability to help prevent memory loss, while low-glycemic foods provide the brain with a steady supply of energy to keep it working perfectly.

Supplements are a good start, but the best way to utilize these remedies is to include them in your diet. Include food with plenty of good fats, such as olive oil, oily fish, eggs, raw nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables, while avoiding high-glycaemic foods such as sweets and white starches to prevent peaks and troughs in the brain’s energy supply.

2. Reduce stress

Stress plays a big role in the ability of our brains to function properly. When we are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released into our bodies. This hormone can trigger long-term changes in brain structure and function, which can, in turn, alter neural networks responsible for decision making and memory. Reduce stress by incorporating more meditation, exercise, and relaxation into your every day.

3. Exercise

Studies show that regular physical exercise can have a huge impact on the long-term health of the brain. This is because it increases the heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain, while also promoting the release of hormones that boost the brain’s activity. Exercise also has the bonus effect of reducing cortisol – what’s not to love!

4. Learn something new

Taking up a new hobby is a great way to keep the brain super sharp. Learning new skills challenges the brain, which helps to improve memory and strengthen neural networks. Regularly challenging the brain like this keeps it active and wards off cognitive decline. If there is something that you’ve always wanted to try, now is the time to give it a go!

brain games
Photo: Miguel Á. Padiñán. Playing games helps to keep your brain sharp

5. Reading

Reading is scientifically proven to increase brain power. Just like activities like running affect the cardiovascular system, reading improves memory function by giving your brain a good workout. Reading can work to slow down the aging process of the brain and can lower mental decline by up to 32%. Aim to read a few minutes a day and gradually increase this over time so that it becomes a regular part of your day.

6. Changing habits

We are creatures of habit by nature and it is very easy to get into a rut of doing the same things all of the time. However, by stepping outside of our comfort zones and changing our habits, it is possible to break the cycle and give the brain something to think about. Order something different next time you head to your favorite restaurant, find a different route to cycle to work or keep an ear out for music that you might not usually get the chance to listen to.

7. Playing games

Mind games such as sudoku, crossword puzzles and scrabble are ideal for giving the brain a good workout. While they might not improve your chances of getting into Mensa, they will certainly help to reduce cognitive decline and keep your brain in great condition!

8. Sleep

Sleep is one of the biggest factors in maintaining good brain health. As we sleep, our bodies work to repair themselves while consolidating memories from the day. Achieving an average of between 7-9 hours of sleep per night enables the brain to fully process everything that happened during the day while also resting and recharging to prepare for the next one.

There you have it, there are plenty of ways to keep your brain sharp. Take care of your brain and it will take care of you!

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