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22 Jul 2021

Every brain changes with age, and mental function changes along with it. Mental decline is common, and it's one of the most feared consequences of aging. But cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Here are 12 ways you can help maintain brain function.


1. Movement – Exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and helps prevent age-related decline. The endorphin hormones are released while exercising makes one feel better and also help one to concentrate and feel mentally sharp for tasks at hand. Exercise may improve cognition in the short term, reduce risks of dementia or MCI in the long term, and reduce the age-associated progressive loss of brain volume.


2. Eat brain-enhancing food items – Eat a well balanced meal and make sure you don’t skip meals. Your diet definitely has a big impact on your brain health. Inflammatory diet patterns that are high in sugar, refined carbs, unhealthy fats, and processed foods can contribute to impaired memory and learning, as well as increase your risk of diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia.


3. Avoid tobacco - The longer you smoke, the higher your risk of greater age-related brain volume loss. Researchers found that smoking negatively affected the structural integrity of subcortical brain regions. They also found that smokers, compared to non-smokers, had greater amounts of age-related brain volume loss in several areas of the brain. Smoking introduces many toxic chemicals into the brain and body, some of which have the ability to cause cancer.


4. Manage stress – The human brain isn’t designed to handle excessive amounts of stress on an everyday basis. It can harm both your physical and mental health. People who experience excessive stress or burnout find that their brain capacity has diminished as well. They can’t focus clearly, have difficulty retaining information, and lack creativity.

This is because excessive stress triggers the release of cortisol in the brain. That leads to loss of bone mass, muscle mass, and brain mass. One of the best ways to boost mental capacity is to manage stress well. Recognize your limits and set reasonable boundaries. Do things that break the routine and stimulate the mind, which leads to forming new connections.


5. Breathe - Brain cells are very sensitive to a lack of oxygen. Some brain cells start dying less than 5 minutes after their oxygen supply disappears. As a result, brain hypoxia can rapidly cause severe brain damage or death.

Doing deep breathing for at least 30 minutes a day will increase the amount of oxygen in the brain which prevents the brain from deteriorating and makes it young with age.


6. Sleep - Improving sleep can boost both short- and long-term cognitive performance. Better sleep can promote sharper thinking and may reduce the likelihood of age-related cognitive decline. Getting enough hours of high-quality sleep fosters attention and concentration, which are a prerequisite for most learning. Sleep also supports numerous other aspects of thinking including memory, problem-solving, creativity, emotional processing, and judgment.


A healthy lifestyle can help you prevent risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. If you already have one or more of these risk factors, you may be able to make lifestyle changes that can reverse the conditions and help improve your brain health.

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Mishka Goyal

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