This post was sponsored by Neuriva, a holistic brain-health regimen to help support brain performance. Thank you to RB for compensating my time, however, all thoughts and opinions presented here are my own.
Whether you just turned 20, you’re entering midlife, or are enjoying retirement, there’s always room to feel better and support your brain! Although aging is a natural process, inevitable, and nothing to fear, it comes with both perks and problems. With wisdom, personal growth, and insights come new aches, pains, and concerns. And as we age, we have more responsibility and personal and/or professional demands that can cause brain drain just by sheer demand. Practicing good health means taking care of your brain, too.
Luckily, there are strategies to support your brain at every age! I asked Dr. Nicole Avena, Ph.D., a research neuroscientist, and Dr. Gary Small, M.D., a brain health expert, to share their expertise on the changes that occur in our brains during different life phases, and steps we can take to support our brain health. We first spoke with Dr. Avena.
Dr. Avena: Brain health is important at every age. We tend to only think about it in babies when we are trying to promote optimal brain development for learning, and in old age, when we are concerned about keeping our brains sharp. But there are things we can do to support brain health at any age. For example, in our 20s, 30s, and 40s, it is important to:
Dr. Avena: It’s all about establishing good habits, and that starts with getting into a good routine for health. Tips to try include:
Dr. Avena: Physical activity is important for training and conditioning our bodies, but the brain needs to be trained too:
Dr. Small: Living a healthy lifestyle (regular physical exercise, mental stimulation, stress management, balanced diet) will support brain health.
Dr. Small: Every two out of three Americans take dietary supplements, and supplement users tend to live healthy lifestyles by exercising, avoiding cigarettes, and eating nutritious diets.
Concerns about risks and limited evidence of brain benefits of supplements have led to disagreement among experts about the effectiveness of supplements. However, this is why it’s so important for people to remember that not all supplements are created equally. In order to be an educated consumer, you have to do some homework and choose supplements with science-backed ingredients. Fortunately, recent research suggests promise for several dietary supplements that may support brain health as we age.
Here are some things to consider when deciding on which form or brand of supplement to take:
Dr. Small: It’s never too early or too late to start living a brain-healthy lifestyle:
The key is to begin these behaviors and transform them into habits. The first step is to understand the connection between behavior and healthy aging, which will make you think twice about opting for that donut snack instead of an apple. The next step is starting a program that is easy and fun, like taking a walk every day or playing a sport you enjoy. Try engaging in these activities with friends and have a healthy meal afterward.
Dr. Small: People often ask if our computers and handheld devices worsen or improve brain function. The answer is both – when they distract us, they interfere with memory, but we can pick and choose what we commit to memory and use our gadgets to look everything else up online.
Recent research shows that certain computer programs and games can train and improve specific cognitive functions.
Now that you have some clear steps ahead of you to support your brain, plan them so they don’t become disappearing intentions! Follow these steps:
Check back in December to learn more about how to treat your brain better! And if you missed it, see our last post How to Support Your Brain Health.
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