How we cope with stress is an important factor in our mental well-being which, in turn, impacts our brain health as we age. How we personally view getting older is also related. Adults who look at aging positively report higher mental well-being scores, says a new survey.
If there’s one food that people associate with Valentine’s Day, it’s chocolate. More than half of those celebrating are expected to give candy this year, spending 1.8 billion dollars on sweet treats, according to the National Retail Federation. Although studies that find chocolate is good for your brain grab headlines, this Valentine’s Day consider skipping the candy and instead spending quality time with loved ones.
In February, we are surrounded by hearts. They’re everywhere—in the grocery store, shopping malls and email inboxes. You may also hear more about heart health, because February is American Heart Month. Taking steps to strengthen your heart yields a bonus—you’ll be protecting your brain as well.
As the executive director of the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), I am always on the lookout for brain-healthy foods. I scan grocery aisles for chocolate bars with more than 70 percent cocoa, feel that I’m stimulating my brain when I down my morning coffee and even feel virtuous when drinking a glass or two of red wine. Turns out all my assumptions have been wrong.
In April 2015, the Institute of Medicine released a groundbreaking report on what older Americans can do to keep their brains healthy. The report said that obesity was likely to increase the risk of cognitive decline. The same month, a major study in the British medical journal Lancet found that being underweight in middle age and old age is linked to an increased risk for dementia. Confused? You’re not alone. This is just one example of scientific reports that generate conflicting news headlines. Do brain games work to strengthen memory? Does lifting weights and practicing yoga make a difference? Can certain foods decrease risk of dementia?
En español | What are you doing to keep your brain healthy? When it comes to our brain health,” we Latinos are not always so diligent. We can easily discuss diabetes, how to lower our cholesterol or how to relieve the pain of arthritis inherited from our grandmother. We diet to lose weight for our daughter’s upcoming wedding, we walk to find a cure for our friend’s cancer; but even though we know it’s important to keep our minds healthy, we don't always take steps to slow or prevent the cognitive diseases that can develop over time.
For several years, studies have linked hearing loss and dementia, but no major study has addressed the big question: Could using hearing aids reduce the risk of cognitive decline?
With the recent news tying processed and red meats to cancer, you may already be cutting back on steak dinners. Here’s even more incentive: Two new studies have found that a Mediterranean-style diet — featuring more fish, whole grains, fruits and vegetables and less meat — may not only help keep your memory strong but also slow age-related brain shrinkage. There’s also good news for those who find it difficult to eat healthy all the time: Both studies found that just incorporating a few of the recommended foods into your diet seems to help.
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