Seemingly Harmless Habits That Prematurely Age The Brain

Seemingly Harmless Habits That Prematurely Age The Brain

The older you get, the more difficult it is to remember information. Which restaurant did you eat at last week for lunch with your friend, James? Better yet, where are your car keys that you just had in your hand 40 minutes ago? Remembering such things becomes more difficult with age, and it also takes longer to learn something new. 

Although brain aging is a natural part of life, there are many things you can do or not do to keep your brain healthy. Are there foods that contain nutrients that can boost brain health? Absolutely, but you don’t have to immediately transform your diet to encourage brain health as a jumping off point. You can help prevent your brain from aging prematurely by assessing your daily habits. 

Health experts agree that most people engage in seemingly harmless everyday habits that can prematurely age the brain. What are these habits and what can you do instead? Continue reading to learn about the mistakes you need to correct. 

You Dismiss Chronic Stress 

Stress is a natural part of life and the body can quickly recover from acute stress that results from a specific situation. Problems arise when you do not address chronic stress that you carry around. People are excellent at keeping the stress response on all day, at least at a moderate level they may not even notice. Psychiatrists state that people can carry around unconscious stress even when nothing stressful is happening. 

Ideally, you recognize stress and find ways to release it throughout the day. You can engage in stretching, mindful meditation, or exercise to help reduce stress. It can be helpful to create short-term states of acute stress to help relieve chronic stress. For example, jump in a cold shower or cold plunge, sit in a hot sauna, or engage in high-intensity interval training. You will be stressed during the activity, but the activity leads to relaxation and better quality sleep later on.

You Aim For Enough Sleep, But The Quality Isn’t Good

You may aim to get seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but it means nothing if the quality of sleep is poor. You probably know that you feel tired in the morning if you tossed and turned all night. Both the quantity and quality of sleep are integral for optimal brain health. While you are asleep, the brain sorts out memories of the day and places them in the right place to access in the future. The brain also cleans beta-amyloid, the protein that wreaks havoc on the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, during sleep. That process is interrupted if you don’t sleep enough or if you sleep poorly. To improve the quality of sleep, set a consistent bedtime, minimize alcohol intake, reduce fluid intake before bed, and avoid screens at least one hour before bed.

You Don’t Get Enough Social Interaction

Whether you have a new baby, you work remotely, or you are retiring, many situations in life can make it difficult to be social. Regular in-person interactions are necessary for your brain to thrive, but online interactions can be helpful as well. When you meet someone new, the brain forms a new connection between cells. Having a strong social network has been proven to improve mood, which coincidentally improves the health of the brain. If you are isolated and lack community, be that in-person or online, you may age the brain more quickly than you would like. Keep yourself engaged with people!

You Rely On Takeout Too Much

How common is it for someone to have a regular job and a side hustle? Whether you jump from job to job or have kids to care for, business can make eating at home very difficult. To save time, you eat out, and those food choices aren’t always the best. Fast food, for example, contains lots of saturated fats, added sugars, and highly processed ingredients. Studies confirm that diets high in these types of foods increase the risk of dementia. Other studies suggest that these foods lead to conditions, such as obesity or diabetes, that negatively affect brain health. For example, uncontrolled diabetes can cause the brain to shrink! 

You Don’t Engage In Regular Physical Activity

Are you familiar with the brain-boosting benefits of exercise? According to studies, regular physical activity, especially cardiovascular movements, are necessary to keep the brain young. Exercise can increase growth hormones in the brain, including nerve factors that improve brain wellness and function. Beyond working out, you can incorporate other things that count as “being active.” Gardening, hiking, swimming at the beach, or even cleaning can do more good than you realize. Not to mention, these are sustainable things that seem more feasible than going to the gym for an hour three times per week.

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