Keeping your aging brain healthy

Aging well depends on your genes, lifestyle choices and environment. Even if you’re healthy, brain changes as you age may lead to increased challenges with multitasking, paying attention and recalling words. The good news is, most of us— at any age—can learn new things and improve skills, which can be important for maintaining our independence.

Good overall health helps you maintain good brain health. These tips can help you stay healthy, physically and mentally:

  • Eat or drink less sugar, salt and solid fat
  • Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • Choose lean meats, fish or poultry, and low-fat dairy foods
  • Control portion sizes
  • Drink adequate fluids
  • Make physical activity a part of your routine
  • Get seven to eight hours of sleep every night
  • Volunteer, join a social club or attend community programs
  • Make time to gather with friends

Additionally, conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and high blood pressure can affect brain health. Manage your cholesterol and blood pressure, exercise, eat healthily and get recommended health screenings. If you smoke, quit. If you drink alcohol, limit consumption. Get enough sleep and seek help for sleep problems.

Genetic risks to brain health are inherited, but the lifestyle and environmental factors you control may be changed to help overcome some of these risks and help maintain brain health.

For more information about brain health, visit the Mercyhealth Health Library.

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