Friday, January 7, 2011

Brain Efficiency and Cognitive Function Improve with Simple Lifestyle Changes

 Are you aware of how to take good care of your brain so that it functions efficiently throughout life?

Many baby boomers can't name an early sign of Alzheimer's, a recent survey by the national Alzheimer Society revealed.  Of more than 1,000 Canadians ages 45 to 65, none knew even one of the early warning signs, which include memory loss affecting daily living, difficulty performing routine tasks, communication problems, personality changes, loss of initiative, disorientation, poor judgement or mood swings.

A more encouraging study at UCLA in 2006, found that people may be able to improve their cognitive function and brain efficiency by making simple lifestyle changes.   Details of the healthy strategies employed in the study are highlighted in a book by Dr. Gary Small, "The Longevity Bible: 8 Essential Strategies for Keeping Your Mind Sharp and Your Body Young" (Hyperion, New York, 2006)

What can you incorporate into your daily healthy longevity plan?

Memory exercises such as crossword puzzles and brainteasers stimulate the brain.

.  Take daily walks to improve physical fitness, to increase life expectancy and lower the risk of Alzheimer disease.

Eat five small meals a day, which prevents drops in blood glucose levels, since glucose is the main energy source for the brain.  Eat a balanced diet, full of omega-3 fats, antioxidants and low-glycemic carbohydrates like whole grains.

Manage stress with daily relaxation exercises.  Stress causes the body to release cortisol, a hormone that can impair memory and damage brain memory cells.

So, how are you doing with that list?  I used to think crossword puzzles were a waste of time, but I've started to enjoy them, and know that they are great stimulation for my brain (I do better teaming up with my husband for the answers).

I work out at a gym for an hour three times a week, with a personal trainer, but I realize that I have to be more committed to take daily walks or enjoy other exercises on the off days.  In addition to the five small low glycemic meals a day, which include the Usana Health Sciences nutritional shakes and bars, I won't go a day without Usana's Essential antioxidants and minerals, the Omega-3 fish oil capsules and a number of other nutrients.

You can repair an arm, but you can't as easily repair a brain.  Do everything you can to keep it healthy!

Deanna Waters
Dedicated to healthy homes, bodies, minds and bank accounts.
Let's hear from you.  What else are you doing to keep a healthy brain?

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