Are you taking care of your brain? March is National Brain Awareness Month
Have you been neglecting your New Year’s resolutions like getting to the gym? You now have one more reason to renew that resolution: March is National Brain Awareness month and a healthy body means a healthy brain too! Here are a few simple things you can do this month to reduce your risk.
30 minutes of activity each day
It only takes 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day! It could be anything from a brisk walk to taking dance lessons, but helps reduce your risk of developing dementia.
Exercise helps the brain in a few ways, like:
- Pumping blood and oxygen to the brain, which is important for brain functioning
- Helping to build your cognitive reserve and improve memory through an active lifestyle
And risk reduction aside, regular activity means more energy and feeling better throughout the day!
Focus on fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains
You may have heard about the benefits of a Mediterranean or heart healthy diet. This type of diet supports good cardiovascular health, and helps to combat heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, all contributing factors for vascular dementia. So how can you add the components of a Mediterranean diet to your meals?
- Eat mostly plant-based foods, like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and nuts.
- Use healthy fats, like olive oil.
- Use herbs and spices to flavour your foods instead of salt.
- Limit your consumption of red meat and eat fish or poultry instead.
Train your brain
Learning new things in new ways helps to preserve brain cells and, in some cases, can even reverse some of the cognitive decline that comes with aging. And it’s not just about brain puzzles, engaging in activities with others, like volunteering or being in a book club, is even better for keeping your brain in top form. Staying social also boosts mood and attitude, important ingredients for well-being.
Other items to add to your brain health plan
Remember, activity and diet aren’t the only ways to stay brain healthy, it’s also important to:
- Manage your stress levels.
- Reduce or quit smoking.
- Protect your head when playing sports.
It’s never too late or too soon to take charge of your brain health. For more tips and helpful resources, visit www.alzheimer.ca/brainhealth.
Last Updated: 07/17/14