Be Strong

Healthy Memory

6 Pillars of Brain Health that Can Change Your Life
By Cleveland Clinic Wellness Editors 
Published 5/12/2015 
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Did you know that your lifestyle choices have a profound impact on your brain health? What you eat and drink, how much you exercise, how well you sleep, the way you socialize, and how you manage stress are all critically important. That’s why the team of doctors and researchers at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health has committed to the Healthy Brains Initiative, an online resource where you can access information and manage your brain health. The mission: To provide you with a roadmap that helps you navigate your journey to brain health.

So what can you do today to protect your brain down the road? Start by learning about the 6 pillars of brain health:  

1. Physical Exercise
Get your body moving! People who exercise regularly have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise improves blood flow and memory; it also stimulates chemical changes in the brain that enhance learning, mood, and thinking. Be fit. Be smart. Learn more about how strength training and building endurance can foster new brain cell growth and preserve existing brain cells.

2. Food & Nutrition
Eat smart to think better. Making smart food decisions every day is important to brain health. As you grow older, your brain is exposed to harmful stress that results in a process called oxidation, which can damage your brain cells. Food rich in antioxidants can help fend off the harmful effects of oxidation. Here's some food for thought: Discover the diet that will reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.

3. Medical Health
Control your medical risks. Hypertension, diabetes, obesity, depression, head trauma, higher cholesterol, and smoking all increase the risk of dementia. You can control and reduce these risks. Get your annual check-up, follow your doctor's recommendations, and take medications as prescribed. A brain-healthy lifestyle benefits your body and your mind. Learn more about key medical risks that affect your brain health — and how to control them.

4. Sleep & Relaxation
Rest well. Sleep energizes you, improves your mood and your immune system, and may reduce buildup in the brain of an abnormal protein called beta-amyloid plaque, which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Practicing meditation and managing stress may help fend off age-related decline in brain health. Stay positive. Be happy. Find out how to get quality sleep and live life with greater joy.

5. Mental Fitness
It’s your mind: Use it or lose it! Mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise in keeping your brain fit and healthy. Exercises for your mind improve your brain's functioning and promote new brain cell growth, decreasing your likelihood of developing dementia. Just like your muscles, you have to use your brain or you’ll lose it. Practice smart strategies for building your brain reserve.

6. Social Interaction
Stay connected. Engaging in an active social life can protect against memory loss. Spending time with others, participating in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch and connected with family and friends are all good for your brain health. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline. Find out how friends and loved ones can help keep your mind sharp.

Assess Your Brain Health
Are you ready to improve your lifestyle habits to boost your brain health? Start by taking a FREE brain check-up to learn your Brain Health Index score.


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