According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 54 million people suffered from Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia in the world during the year 2020. Marc Milstein, neuroscience researcher, guaranteed that from the age of 40 the human brain loses on average 5% of its capacity every decade. However, he also believes that some healthy lifestyle habits also slow the progression of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Association of the United States published a study that reflected an increasing trend in the number of people who suffer annually from these changes in cognitive ability. But the expert admits that for many people who suffer from these mental health problems or not it’s not something predetermined, but it can be avoided.
milstein offers 7 rules to fight dementia and maintain the lucidity of the brain:
1. Monitor cholesterol and blood pressure
The human heart beats an average of 115,000 times a day, sending 20% of the oxygen to the brain on each occasion. Milstein comments that blood pressure should be less than 120/80as well as that when going up it becomes a risk factor for the heart by weakening its muscles, and increasing the possibility of heart attacks.
The American Heart Association, on the other hand, recommends measuring this pressure every 4-6 yearsemphasizing that its importance is not limited only to the circulatory system, but also to the nervous system and, therefore, to the brain itself.
2. Control blood sugar levels
Milstein comments that blood sugar or glucose it’s the number one fuel for the brain. Therefore, too low an amount will deplete the body’s energy, and if too high, it can negatively affect brain tissue and blood vessels. That would eventually lead premature aging and cardiovascular disease.
The expert says it’s difficult to properly measure and control your intake, so he offers a list with several ingredients to watch, due to its high content of disaccharides:
3. Get good quality sleep
The Oxford Academic publisher indicated, in a study, that people with untreated sleep apnea are at risk of memory loss an average of 10 years before the rest of the population. And while the recommended number of hours ranges from 7 to 9, the exact amount varies by individual.
These are several of Milstein’s tricks for achieving and maintaining adequate sleep quality:
–Keep a fixed schedule get up and go to bed.
–Separate yourself from electronic devices an hour before going to sleep.
–Do relaxation exercises like ‘mindfulness’, or listening to calming music.
–Go outside every morning as soon as possible, to sunbathe.
4. Maintain a nutritious diet
These foods are essential according to Milstein himself: fat fish (for example salmon), avocado, dry fruits (for example nuts), blackberries, cruciferous vegetables (e.g. broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale or arugula).
Also, whenever you want to buy a new product that you don’t know much about, the neuroscientist It is always recommended to ask yourself three questions.s:
–Will it get bad? Perishable foods are usually healthy, as the reason for their validity is usually the fact that they do not contain additives or preservatives, which affect the intestinal microbiota.
–Do you have a lot of ingredients? Milstein advises against buying products that, in his words, “sound like a chemical experiment.” Also ask not to consume foods in which sugar is a prominent ingredient.
–Are there many colors? The specialist comments that the different colors that characterize fruits and vegetables are due to a multitude of chemical elements, which are “allies” for mental and physical health.
5. Don’t use tobacco
smokers have 30% more likely to develop dementia. Even a passive smoker is exposed to around 7,000 chemicals, of which at least 70 are carcinogenic. And on secondhand smoke, he adds that tobacco residues indoors and on clothing also emit chemicals harmful to the human body.
6. Maintain social relationships
Health surveys by financial services company UBS show that people age 55 and older who maintain recurrent social contacts are less exposed to the risk of cognitive decline. And it is that the reaction of the brain and its subsequent effects on mental health, which result from interaction with other people, are another positive element to combat dementia.
In addition, to increase the secretion of feel-good brain chemicals, like endorphins or serotonin, an easy possibility is to perpetrate simple acts of kindness. The American Psychological Association indicates that actions such as give greetings without expecting anything in return, or contact someone and wish them the bestcontribute to maintaining the lucidity of the brain.
7. Always keep learning
Learn new skills and assimilate new information cause the human brain to establish new connectionsand therefore neural unions, which increase the chances of maintaining and even strengthening memory.
For this, the specialist in neuroscience equates physical training through muscle exercises with brain training. So, going comfortably beyond topics like doing crosswords or playing Sudoku, Milstein proposes to insert every week physical activities (such as playing tennis or football, walking or running, cycling…) with another mental (learn a language, read, study…).