Healthy Living for Your Brain and Body

silhouette photo of man on cliff during sunset

Dr. Keyes offered helpful pointers on how to prioritize one’s health in everyday life, including physical health and fitness, food and nutrition, mental activity and social interaction. One of the most important lessons to emerge from this event is to start small, work toward one of these lifestyle choices until it becomes a habit, and then integrate them to get the greatest results.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a brain condition that damages your cognitive function and causes dementia. Dementia is the result of a variety of illnesses and circumstances, which are not considered to be part of normal aging.

Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a number of factors, including age, genetics, brain injury, heart disease and years of education. People are living longer as a result of this.

What You Can Do to Improve Your Physical Health and Exercise

  • Stop smoking
  • Exercise 30 minutes every day
  • Eat 3-5 servings of colorful vegetables daily
  • Get seven to eight hours of sleep per night
  • Have one glass of red wine per day (optional)
  • Don’t drink alcohol excessively, and don’t forget to eat when you drink. Alcohol is still high in calories!
  • Maintain a good calcium intake
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Do something you enjoy
  • Get your heart rate up
  • Visit your doctor regularly
  • Ask friends to join you
  • Check with your doctor before you start
  • Avoid excess alcohol
  • Take preventive measures to avoid head injury
  • Manage stress
  • Treat depression

Nutrition Tips to Improve Your Diet

What to Include in Your Diet

  • Vegetable oils. This oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the heart.
  • Eat more veggies! They are high in fiber and antioxidants, which help protect against cancer and other diseases.
  • Choose whole grains over processed grains. Whole grains provide more nutrients than processed products.
  • Eat lean proteins daily, such as fish or poultry without skin or red meat.
  • Eat healthy fats, such as olive oil or avocado. These are heart-healthy unsaturated fats that help maintain good cholesterol levels.
  • Avoid sugar and refined foods like white bread. They provide calories without many nutrients, which is why they’re called “empty” calories. Avoid saturated fats because they can raise bad cholesterol in your blood stream.
  • Eat your food slowly, and put down your fork between bites. This can help you to avoid overeating.
  • What to Skip in Your Diet
  • Sugary foods because they’re high in calories and low in nutrients. Be careful of sugar-free products as well – many times, these still have a lot of sugar or use artificial sweeteners. Sometimes, they have aspartame.
  • Caffeine because it can raise your blood pressure and affect your sleep habits, ultimately impacting your mood. High caffeine intake has been linked to anxiety and heart palpitations, so it’s best to avoid caffeine close to bedtime if you have a history of those conditions or don’t want them to develop.
  • Alcohol because it is loaded with calories and can negatively affect your sleep habits. It’s also a drug, so it affects the brain and behavior. If you have a history of alcoholism in your family or have struggled with alcohol addiction yourself, this may not be for you. If you don’t drink, there’s no need to start. Plain water is the best choice for hydration!
  • High-sodium (salt) foods because too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, which puts you at greater risk for heart disease and stroke later in life.
  • Foods to Reduce or Avoid if You Have High Blood Pressure
  • Canned soups with salt added

What You Can Do to Improve Your Cognitive Activity

  • Join a group or club. Joining a group can give you a sense of belonging.
  • Continue to learn throughout your lifetime. Learning about new things keeps your brain active, even in old age.  Avoid being in a rut!
  • Take up an art form or craft, such as painting, drawing or making jewelry. It may also be good for socializing with other people.
  • Learn a new language. This not only keeps your brain active, but can also be useful in the future if you choose to live in a different country. Your ability to learn a new language gets more difficult as you get older, so it’s best to start early on.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy weight. It’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your body, too!
  • Regularly take a break from whatever you’re doing to relax or do something fun. It can be rejuvenating.
  • Take time to reflect on your life periodically. Getting older can have its ups and downs, but this is a great way to keep yourself in check.