“We become what we repeatedly do.”
We all have some bad habits, but some of them can really take a toll on our brains. Lack of sleep may be a cause of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Keep regular sleeping hours. Avoid that alcohol, caffeine and electronics in the evening. If you are alone too much, this can also hurt your brain. We are all wired for social contact and need that sense of connection to others. Those of us who have these connections, even with just a few close friends, are happier and more productive. Try taking up dancing, tennis, bridge or other activities that involve other people.
If you are a junk food lover, remember that those who have lots of hamburgers, fries, potato chips and soft drinks in their diets, are likely to have parts of their brain that’s smaller and might be linked to poor learning, memory and mental health. Preserve your brain function and slow mental decline with those berries, whole grains, nuts and green leafy vegetables. Grab a handful of nuts instead of a bag of chips the next time you need a snack.
You will get permanent damage to your hearing in only 30 minutes with your ear buds at blasting full volume. It also affects a hearing loss in older adults that is linked to brain problems such as Alzheimer’s and loss of brain tissue. This might be because your brain has to work so hard to understand what’s being said, that it can’t store what you’ve heard into memory. Turn it down to no louder than 60% of the maximum volume and try not to listen for more than a couple of hours at a time.
Going without regular exercise and not moving regularly might cause you to be more likely to have dementia. You might even be more likely to get diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure that may be linked to Alzheimer’s.
Smoking will shrink your brain and make your memory worse and twice as likely to get dementia. This includes Alzheimer’s as well. It will also cause heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure. Drop that smoking!
Even if you eat too much but eat the “good” foods, your brain might not be able to build the strong network of connections that help you think and remember. You can also get dangerously overweight, which can cause heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure which are all linked to brain problems and Alzheimer’s.
Be sure to get enough natural light as you may get depressed. That can slow your brain as research shows that sunlight helps keep your brain working well.
Make a new resolution to work at improving the things you have control over to keep your brain healthy and alert. Changing some habits may be the first place to start!
-Dr Fredda Branyon