Experts have shared six simple and powerful tips that will help you keep your brain sharp after turning 50 years old.
The suggestions came after it was highlighted how Covid made a “real lasting impact” on the brain of people over 50.
Scientists at the University of Exeter and King’s College London found memory and cognitive function, such as decision-making, declined quickly during the pandemic.
The study led to a series of questions of whether Britain could be facing a dementia timebomb.
Now, several experts have come forward to explain if is there anything people can do to help keep their cognitive function and memory sharp in their 50s and beyond, reported MailOnline.
Don’t stop learning
Dr Anthony Thompson, postgraduate psychology programme leader at Arden University said: “There’s often a belief that once you reach a certain age, it’s ‘too late’ to learn anything new.
“But that isn’t really the case. In fact, research shows lifelong learning, along with formal education and literacy, is an important factor behind our health and security as we grow older.”
Dr Adam Moreton, consultant older adult psychiatrist at Pall Mall Medical said: “Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week.
“I wouldn’t recommend everybody take up marathon running, but most people can find some way to gradually and gently increase their levels of activity.
“There’s a wealth of research linking higher rates of physical activity with better physical and mental health in later life – including cognitive decline.”
Get plenty of sleep
Dr Moreton added “Quality sleep is essential for memory consolidation and cognitive function. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep per night.
“Some people can manage on less, and how much sleep you need can change as you get older. But you should wake feeling refreshed in the morning and if that isn’t happening, then perhaps you aren’t getting enough sleep or there is another problem (such as depression) getting in the way.”
Be mindful of your diet and alcohol intake
Dr Moreton added that the food and drink we consume is also a major factor for maintaining brain health.
He explained: “A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins can support brain health.
“Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish and nuts, may also be beneficial. It isn’t about denying yourself things you enjoy, that’s important too, but what you eat is essentially fuel for your body and your brain.
“Be sure to drink enough water throughout the day. But excessive alcohol consumption and smoking can harm cognitive function. Even if you can’t stop completely, then any reductions will be helpful.”
Dr Moreton shared that chronic stress can also have a negative impact on cognitive function. He added: “Practices like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help reduce stress.
“Stress and depression can sometimes look like dementia – however, the distinction is important as treatment for stress and depression should help resolve the memory problem.”
Expert suggested that there are strong links between loneliness and social isolation and reduced physical and mental health – including cognitive decline.
Dr Moreton said: “Maintaining social connections and staying mentally active through conversations and social activities can support cognitive health.
“Evidence shows that preventing social isolation helps prevent dementia.”
Source: | This article first appeared on Express.co.uk