The 5 worst daily habits for your brain as you age

The most complicated organ in your body is your brain. It’s pretty fascinating that something weighing a full three pounds should dictate all of your senses, movements, and even behavior, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Though a beautiful mind deserves much loving care, it is easy to neglect as one ages. In fact, we’re here to share five of the worst daily habits for your brain as you age. Read on to learn things you might want to change.

Why is your brain health so important as you age? Well, first and foremost, a sharp brain keeps you independent longer as you move into new chapters of life, reports the National Institute on Aging. As you age, some parts of your brain shrink, blood flow to that area may be reduced, and some of the nerve cells in that area may not work as efficiently. All of this can contribute to making it difficult to remember things like names or places, and also difficult to pay attention. Multitasking can get pretty challenging. Sounds worrying right? Don’t fret because there are so many things you do every day that affect your brain. In fact, almost everything you do—and don’t do—affects your brain.

Eat this, not that! reached Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, ALM, who sits on our Medical Expert Board, on taking care of your brain. He shares, “This may sound like a broken record, but when it comes to brain health there is no substitute for a healthy diet, exercise, adequate sleep and stress reduction.” Eating a healthy diet is important diet that consists of plant-based foods, lean proteins (like fish and chicken), healthy fats, no smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and aerobic exercise for at least 1 1/2 hours per week to maintain brain health. Another important way to feed your brain is to socialize and exercise your mind. Games and crosswords are great workouts for your brain.

Besides adding healthy habits to your lifestyle to keep up with your cognitive abilities, it’s just as important to steer clear of some bad habits. Read on to learn about the five worst daily habits for your brain as you age.

mature woman in bed

Getting enough sleep is important to maintain a healthy brain. Because then your spirit can recharge and regenerate. dr Bohl tells us, “Older adults tend to need slightly less sleep than younger adults (seven to eight hours versus seven to nine hours), but it’s still important.”

If you’re not getting enough restorative Zs, you may feel forgetful, irritable, depressed, or suffer from more falls, explains the National Institute on Aging. Because of this, it’s necessary to maintain a consistent sleep schedule and try not to nap later in the day. Avoiding blue light screens in the bedroom, the right sleeping temperature and avoiding caffeine in the late afternoon can also promote a good and healthy sleep.

RELATED: 5 exercise habits destroying your body after 50

Mature woman with a mug sitting alone in a cafe

You may not know this yet, but maintaining a good social circle is essential to the health of your brain! “You can be social in person, like going for a walk with a friend, or be social in some other way, like having a conversation with a family member on the phone,” suggests Dr. Bohl before.

If you want to remain in good health well into old age, according to Asbury Senior Living Communities, it’s not a question of socialization — it’s a necessity. Building your friend network and engaging in group activities is akin to brain training! How come? Socializing keeps your brain sharp and boosts your cognitive function. In fact, a study published in Plus one found that maintaining strong circles of friends as we age is associated with more gradual cognitive decline.

Close-up hand opening wine bottle on table with bread, concept of alcohol is one of the worst habits for your brain

Another of the worst habits for your brain is drinking too much alcohol. Your brain can be affected if you drink too much of your favorite beer, wine or cocktail. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, drinking alcohol makes it much harder for the areas of your brain responsible for memory, balance, and language to do their jobs effectively. This can increase your risk of injury or other health risks.

Typically, men shouldn’t have more than two drinks a day or fewer, says Dr. Bohl. Women should limit it to one or less in a day.

RELATED: Tea, fruits and veggies can keep your brain sharp, study says

mature man of 60 sedentary on the couch in front of the tv, concept of the worst habits for your brain

Simply put, a sedentary lifestyle is not good for your overall well-being and brain health. dr Bohl recommends, “If you work at a desk or otherwise spend a lot of time sitting and not moving, try to find ways to get more activity into your daily life, such as walking. B. Doing chores or going for a walk during lunchtime.”

Man stressed working on laptop

Constant stress and other medical conditions can have a negative impact on your brain. According to the Premier Neurology Center, a constant state of stress regularly activates your brain’s fear center. Your cortisol levels are regularly elevated, which can lead to other problems with sleep, digestion, and your immune system. Stress can actually change the structure of your brain, killing new cells in your brain and putting you at greater risk of developing mental illness. That’s why it’s important to take all prescribed medications and also to discuss any mental health issues with your doctor, explains Dr. Bohl.

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