Not Just For Seniors: Practice Brain Health in June

By Rhonda Kay Leonarduhs-logo

Health and Human Services defines brain health as “the ability to remember, learn, plan, concentrate and maintain a clear, active mind.” As 60,000 Oregonians live with Alzheimer’s disease or other related dementias, and that number anticipated to increase significantly over the next two decades, we all want to know what we can do to protect our brains as we age.

The Cleveland Clinic shows us how with the following six pillars of brain health outlined on their website, HealthyBrains.org.

Physical exercise: People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise improves blood flow and memory; it stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood and thinking.

Food and nutrition: As you grow older, your brain is exposed to more harmful stress due to lifestyle and environmental factors, resulting in a process called oxidation, which damages brain cells. Food rich in antioxidants can help fend off the harmful effects of oxidation in your brain.

Medical health: Control medical risks. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. Get your annual check-up, follow your doctor’s recommendations and take medications as prescribed.

Sleep and relaxation: Sleep energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system, and may reduce buildup in the brain of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid plaque, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

Mental fitness: Mental exercises may improve your brain’s functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia.

Social interaction: Stay connected. Spending time with others, engaging in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch and connected with family and friends are good for your brain health. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline.

It’s never too late to promote our brain health. Do something now to protect your tomorrows.

This story is sponsored by United Homecare Services. If you are interested in finding out more or scheduling a no-obligation consultation, call 503-433-8079.