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Forgetfulness at times occurs to everyone, but many adults attribute this to aging. Regardless of your age, lifestyle practices are a factor in one’s health, and that includes brain health.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) acknowledges that there are some factors we cannot change such as genetics and age. The CDC also endorses reducing risk factors to possibly prevent or delay cognitive decline. A Lancet Commission study reported that prevention, intervention, and care could prevent or delay up to 40% of dementia cases.

The secret recipe for brain health is much the same as for our overall general health: maintain an active lifestyle. This includes both regular exercise – at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days per week – and social engagement to maintain connectedness to our family, friends, and community. Consuming a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and getting plenty of sleep are other good health habits. Those positive habits nurture a healthy weight and can aid with lower blood pressure, blood sugar management, cholesterol management, and overall positive physical and mental health.

Work to limit the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages and other empty calorie foods to avoid negative health effects. Avoid smoking and other tobacco or tobacco substitute (vaping) products and limit alcohol consumption. Making small changes over time eases the anxiety of dropping a bad habit and helps with the adoption of good habits that can improve one’s health.

While we cannot change our age, our genetics, or our family history, we can adopt healthy lifestyle practices to not only address our brain health, but also our overall health.

Marie Arick
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