The 5 worst daily habits for your brain as you age

The most complex organ in your body happens to be your brain. It’s pretty fascinating that something that weighs three pounds dictates all of your senses, your movements, and even your behavior, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Although a beautiful mind deserves lots of loving care, it’s easy to neglect it as you get older. In fact, we’re here to share five of the worst daily habits for your brain as you age. Read on to learn the things you might want to change.

Why is your brain health so important as you age? Well, first and foremost, a sharp brain will keep you independent longer as you enter new chapters in life, reports the National Institute on Aging. As you age, parts of your brain shrink, blood flow to that area may be reduced, and some of the nerve cells in that area may not work as efficiently. All of these can contribute to difficulty remembering things like names or places, and also paying attention. Multitasking can get quite difficult. Sounds ominous, doesn’t it? Don’t worry, because there are so many things you do every day that affect your brain. In fact, just about everything you do – and don’t do – has an impact on your brain.

Eat this, not that! reached out to Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, who sits on our board of medical experts, on caring for your brain. He shares, “It may sound like a broken record, but when it comes to brain health, there’s no substitute for healthy eating, exercise, getting enough sleep, and reducing stress.” Eat a healthy diet of plant-based foods, lean proteins (like fish and chicken), healthy fats, don’t smoke, limit your alcohol intake, and get at least 1 ½ hours of aerobic exercise every week are all important. to keep your brain healthy. Another important way to feed your brain is to socialize and exercise your mind. Games and crosswords are great workouts for your brain.

In addition to adding healthy habits to your lifestyle to maintain your cognitive abilities, it is equally important to stay away from certain bad habits. Keep reading to learn more about the five worst daily habits for your brain as you age.

mature woman in bed

Getting enough sleep is essential to maintaining a healthy brain. After all, this is when your mind is able to recharge and restore itself. Dr. Bohl tells us: “Older adults tend to need slightly less sleep than younger adults (seven to eight hours instead of seven to nine hours), but it’s still important .”

If you don’t get enough Z to rest, you might feel forgetful, irritable, depressed, or suffer more falls, says the National Institute on Aging. This is why it is necessary to follow a regular sleep schedule and try not to nap later in the day. Not using blue light screens in your bedroom, keeping your sleeping space at the right temperature, and avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon can also promote healthy, quality sleep.

RELATED: 5 Exercise Habits That Are Destroying Your Body After 50

mature woman holding mug sitting alone in cafe

You may not already know this, but maintaining a good social circle is essential for your brain health! “You can be social in person, like going for a walk with a friend, or be social in other ways, like having a conversation with a family member on the phone,” Dr. Bohl suggests.

According to Asbury Senior Communities, if you want to stay healthy well into your old age, socializing isn’t a question, it’s a necessity. Building your network of friends and participating in group activities is like exercising your brain! How? Socializing keeps your brain sharp and boosts your cognitive function. Indeed, a study published in PLOS A found that maintaining strong friend groups as you age is associated with more gradual cognitive decline.

close up hand opening a bottle of wine on a table with bread, the concept of alcohol being one of the worst habits for your brain

Another of the worst habits for your brain is consuming too much alcohol. Your brain can be compromised by drinking too much of your favorite beer, wine or cocktails. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol makes it much harder for the areas of your brain that are responsible for memory, balance, and speech to perform. their work efficiently. This can increase your risk of suffering an injury or other health risks.

As a general rule, men shouldn’t drink more than two or fewer glasses a day, says Dr. Bohl. Females should limit it to one or less per day.

RELATED: Tea, Fruits and Vegetables Can Keep Your Brain Sharp, Study Says

sedentary mature man at 60 years old on sofa watching tv, concept of worst habits for your brain

Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is not good for your overall well-being and brain health. Dr. Bohl recommends: “If you work at a desk or spend a lot of time sitting and not moving, try to find ways to get more activity into your daily life, like doing chores or taking walks during lunch time.”

stressed man working on laptop

Constant stress and other medical conditions can negatively impact your brain. According to Premier Neurology Center, being in a constant state of stress will regularly activate your brain’s fear center. Your cortisol levels will steadily rise, which can lead to other problems with sleep, digestion, and the immune system. Stress can actually change your brain structure, killing new cells in your brain, and putting you at increased risk for mental illness. That’s why it’s essential to take all prescribed medications and discuss any mental health issues you have with your doctor, says Dr. Bohl.

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