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5 Steps to Keep Your Brain Healthy

Your brain is one of the most complex organs in your body, requiring about 20% of the calories you eat per day to function.

Overall, body health is important for brain health. According to the Global Council on Brain Health, experts recommend you eat a diet full of fruits, vegetables, seafood and fish, while avoiding or limiting saturated fats, salt, red meat and large amounts of alcohol to keep your brain healthy.

Many people develop diseases that affect their brain with age. The most common disease that effects the brain is dementia. Several types of dementia exist, but the most prevalent form is Alzheimer’s, which affects about one in every 10 people over the age of 65 in the U.S.

No cure for this disease is known at this time, and research is being done to determine the exact causes of dementia. According to the National Institute on Aging, causes of dementia are related to environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors.

Try these five steps to keep your brain healthy:

1. Be safe.

Wear your helmet while riding a bike, skateboarding or in-line skating. If you are playing a contact sport such as football, soccer or rugby, be mindful and play it safe while wearing appropriate gear. Avoid head injuries that can cause you to lose basic body functions and memory.

2. Fuel up.

Your brain requires a large amount of fuel per day. Carbohydrates are the best source of nutrients for your brain. The Food and Drug Administration recommends that about 45% to 65% of your calorie intake should come from carbohydrates every day. Good sources of carbohydrates include rice, whole-wheat bread, beans, fruits and vegetables.

3. Keep it sharp.

Never let your brain become lazy. Doing puzzles, playing music, knitting, reading and playing games are some good ways to keep your memory sharp. The old phrase, “Use it or lose it” plays a role in brain health. During summer vacation from school or as you age into retirement, continuing to do activities that keep your mind alert is important.

4. Get active.

Being active is important to remain healthy. Regular activity can help keep your weight stable and your heart healthy. Overall body health is necessary for good brain function.

5. Stay social.

Social interactions are important for building a good support system. Having good support reduces stress and can help improve mood, which is important for body and brain health.

 

Sources:

GCBH - www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/

National Institute on Aging - www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-causes-alzheimers-disease

 

By Clare Reinhardt, Dietetic Intern, NDSU Extension

Filed under: fca newsletter

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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