Believe us when we say that your brain is not fixed and neither Your memory or intelligence is. Everyone has the potential of keeping their brains young or even ageless.
Scientist have long thought that the brain only changes for the worst. Everyone was born with a specific level of brain power which largely goes unchanged thought one’s life provided they have not had a head trauma or had a history of psychoactive substance use.
While scientists based on the effects of aging on the brain, they remained aloof on its constantly evolving nature. This wonderful and potentially life-changing facts about neurogenesis is the key to keeping your brain young and unlocking your potential.
Is it possible to keep your brain young?
Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., one of the leading scientists in the field of neuroplasticity was once quoted; “Your brain – every brain – is a work in progress. It is ‘plastic.’ From the day we’re born to the day we die, it continuously revises and remodels, improving or slowly declining, as a function of how we use it.”
To say the least, brains need some challenging from time to time without which they eventually slow down as a result of aging. As you progress through life, the structure and functions of the brain are bound to change.
In one’s late 20’s, the brain starts to lose neurons due to these reasons;
- The cerebrum, the outermost area of the brain, begins to thin, resulting in a reduction of synapses. (Synapses are chemical “messengers” that transmit information from one brain cell to another.)
- At about 60, the frontal lobe and hippocampus regions of the brain begin to shrink. At 75, you will have lost approximately one-tenth of the neurons you had when born.
These changes should not be bad news since even with these changes, it’s still possible to keep your brain young with enough cognitive exercises.
It all starts with Neuroplasticity
“Not so many years ago, the predominant belief was that the brain was not plastic at an older age – and we contributed to an appreciation that the brain is in fact continuously plastic.” – Michael Merzenich, Winner of the 2016 Kavli Prize in Neuroscience.
The truth on plasticity is limited to few individuals like doctors, scientists and neurologists outside of which most common folks haven’t the slightest clue as to what it entails. This is saddening considering there is great potential lying in our highly dynamic brans. The concept of neuroplasticity implies that our brain has the ability to be molded into any form. This means everything you do, has the potential to promote the aging or keeping your brain young. This is how you keep your brain young, healthy and smart.
- Challenge your brain
Neuroscientists made a great progress in neuroplasticity when they discovered that active engagement and stimulation of the brain results in physical changes of the brain.
Having a large reserve of knowledge, memories keeps the brain active and safeguards it against damage later on in life. Trying out new things like playing a musical instrument or tactical games like chess will keep your brain young for ages to come.
- Watch your diet
According to a study published in the journal of Neural plasticity, numerus research studies have concluded that diet has a significant effect on the brain structure, function and also modulates neuroplasticity substrates.
Some of the neuroplasticity processes that diet influences include;
Inflammation: a defunct inflammatory response can cause brain damage
Antioxidant defenses: free radicals and toxins can build up in brain cells, causing damage
Neurogenesis: the spawning of new brain cells (the building of a young brain)
Neurotrophic signaling: communication between proteins that assist in the development, function, and survival of neurons.
A balanced diet of grains, fruits, meats and vegetables will get your brain set up for the huge task it has.
- Take time off the alcohol
Studies show a strong correlation between alcohol consumption and dementia. Symptoms of dementia include difficulty thinking, short and long-term memory loss and changes in personality.
To have a young brain, take time off hangovers; although having a bottle or two is not bad.
- Listen to some great music
For most of us, jamming into some good tunes help us unwind after a long day. It turns out that music is more than just a recipe for having a good time, the complex symphony is also beneficial for our brains.
There Is increased brain activity every time we listen to songs as we try to make sense of the lyrics in music.
- Avoid multitasking
Multitasking is stressful to both the physical body and mentally exhausting. Anything that exhausts the brain contributes to its aging. Instead, try out single tasking which will let you focus on a single task until its finished. It’s less stressful and more effective.
- Beware of negative emotions
Having a buildup of negative emotions is as destructive as it gets. Besides causing physical and mental exhaustion, it can lead to depression, exhaustion and sleep deprivation which can expedite signs of aging.
When stuck in a cycle of negative vibe, try doing some mind relaxing practices like yoga or meditation to help you relax. Additionally, keep off negative people or situations.
- Exercise regularly.
Exercise might just be what your body needed. Physical activity results in the release of dopamine and serotonin that promote neurogenesis.\Try getting at least 30-45 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per week.
- Watch your blood sugar and blood pressure
Both hypertension and high blood sugars increase one’s risk of getting dementia. Taking part in simple health activities like watching your weight, alcohol intake, eating healthy protects both your heart and brain.
- Avoid smoking
At all costs, stay away from cigarettes. Besides increasing the risk of developing a stroke, nicotine addiction results in addiction that causes anxiety when craving or withdrawing from cigarettes smoking.