4 Brain Warrior Ways to Attack Aging
We all want to know how to stay healthy as we age. We ask ourselves, “Are there secrets to looking and feeling younger, longer? Are there small, daily habits I can easily start to protect my mind and body as I age?”
It’s clear that not everyone—or every brain—ages the same way. But by putting neuroscience into practice in our daily lives, there are a number of things we can all do to help preserve our mental abilities; prevent cognitive impairment, memory problems, and illness; and improve our brain health for a higher quality of life as we grow older.
The key to staying healthy is to keep our bodies, including our brains, in top form. But as opposed to strategies that depend on deprivation, “Brain Warriors,” as we call them, focus on the abundance of amazing habits. Now we all know exercise, diet, and quality sleep are important, but here are 4 Brain Warrior ways to attack illness and aging that you probably haven’t thought of.
1. Find Your Tribe
Who you spend time with matters. Their daily habits are contagious. Good friends are good for your health. And, as you guessed, unhealthy friends and/or minimal contact with friends is bad for your health. So it’s important to have friends and be selective with them because they can affect your brain, mood, and physical health.
Interacting with others helps people feel connected. We’re social animals, who by nature have always needed others for survival. It’s in our genes. Studies have found that healthy friends can actually help lower your risk of cognitive decline, may protect against dementia by providing emotional and mental stimulation, and can make a key difference in life longevity.
Tip: Try joining new social circles— perhaps a community group, book club, chess club, faith-based group, or a volunteer meet-up.
2. Eat More Fat!
What you put in your mouth affects your mind. Good fats are essential to your health. And it’s important to start eating right as early as possible— to restore energy, optimize brain and hormone functioning, reduce the risk of disease, and help maintain a healthy weight.
Brain Warrior’s tap into the power of food with both an abundance of illness-fighting nutrients from whole, living plant foods and high-quality protein (plant or animal), with an essential mixture of healthy fat. It’s the good fat that helps keep the brain sharp, fuels muscles, and regulates vital organs to function properly.
Tip: Try eating a diet that’s 70% plant-based foods, 30% high-quality protein, and focus on eating healthy fat like avocados, cashews, coconut oil and olive oil mixed in.
3. Manage Your Stress
These days, when stress factors seem unrelenting (work stress, financial stress, traffic, raising kids, and so on), stress may seem like a normal part of life. But chronic stress can wreak havoc on your mind and body causing actual physical wear and tear. Research has shown that stress causes physical changes in the body that can take a heavy toll on our physical and emotional health and actually accelerate aging.
Stress causes a variety of health issues, including anxiety, depression, obsessive anger and hostility, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart attacks. That’s because stress sends surges of adrenaline and cortisol to the brain and body, which cause blood pressure to rise and the heart to beat faster.
Tip: Try meditation, it’s one of the most effective ways to neutralize stress. Remember, the most important thing is to find something you enjoy that helps you relax, like a hobby, reading a book or doing yoga.
4. Do Mental Aerobics
Novelty, variety, and new experiences will help keep your mind sharp and healthy. New experiences, even small, simple changes, stimulate more neural connections in your brain. This causes nerve cells to produce nutrients that strengthen cells and makes them more resistant to the effects of aging.
Studies show that brain exercises can help prevent cognitive decline. The best learning activities for your brain are mentally engaging, interactive, enjoyable, and new for you. Make lifelong learning a priority in your life.
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