It’s a cloudy day here and I was thinking about how easy it would be to lay on my sofa with my cavapoo, Sheva, and watch HGTV and eat popcorn all day. Instead of giving in to the flashy allure of other people’s housing renovations, I decided that it might be fun to share with you a bit of a conversation I had with a client from last week.
Rene is a 56-year-old woman who is contemplating entering retirement. She has a pension from the state and has enjoyed a satisfying career of over 30 years in her industry. Her job inspires her and she enjoys the academic and physical challenge of her employment. However, one of her biggest fears in retirement is the old adage “if you don’t use it you’ll lose it.” She’s terrified of losing her cognitive faculties. We discussed solutions to enjoying a retirement that is relaxing and cultivates a life of cognitive crispness.
Here’s a sneak peek into my conversation with Rene. It’s a glimpse to be sure, but I hope that you will resonate with the following and that you’ll feel inspired to make a change or two, that will help the aging process of your brain go in the direction of longevity. Here we go:
Keep your brain stimulated. Join a book club, do a puzzle, listen to podcasts discussing topics that are interesting to you. Take a class, pottery, archeology, mathematics, Excel, anything that might be challenging and fun.
Did you know that many universities, for example, Stanford, offer tons of free online classes that you can take? There are also some pretty cool apps you can download onto your phone so that any time you have a short break, instead of jumping on social media or checking your email for the thousandth time, you can increase brain plasticity, improve memory, concentration, and cultivate the brain of a super genius.
Brain Apps for Kids:
Brain Kids, DragonBox, Quick Maths, Duolingo, ClassDojo, Science360, Crossword Puzzles, Spelling Stage, My Molecularium
Brain Apps for Adults:
MentalUP Educational Games, Elevate – Brain Training, Lumosity: Daily Brain Games, Peak – Brain Training, Memorado Brain Training Games, and so many more!
Just like your car’s performance is contingent upon what you put on the fuel tank, your brain’s capacity to function relies on the nutrients you put into your body. We LOVE to talk about the gut and how it DIRECTLY interacts via the enteric nervous system to your brain.
Seriously, you are what you eat—would you rather be a brain that is filled with healthy omega 3 fatty acids and broccoli or a brain that is swimming in food dye and high fructose corn syrup? I know which I’d pick :). We have an AMAZING course that will teach you EXACTLY how to eat your way into a healthy amazing diet. We know that Diet makes a huge difference. In fact, just this morning I was reading an article about a woman who healed from dementia after she changed her diet.
To learn how to eat in a way that optimizes the health of your brain, click HERE.
Brain boosting nutrients
If you’re looking for an extra boost to add to your amazing lifestyle robust with exercise, amazing eating, meditation and mindfulness, and lots of time spent nurturing your mind and body, there are dozens of supplements for brain health. We talk about our favorite 3 nutrients for brain health on our blog about How To Promote Brain Plasticity.
Gunk can build up in your arteries causing issues head to toe, and similarly toxic build-up can wreak havoc on your brain. Toxic burden compromises every organ in your body, coming in different shapes and sizes and originating from organophosphates sprayed on the produce you buy at the grocery store, to car exhaust, and even toxic emotional relationships. Living in an unavoidably toxic world, it makes sense to me that daily detox is a good idea. It doesn’t hurt, and it can make a world of difference. My two favorite ways to detox are intermittent fasting and liver support.
I could list a hundred more tips, but I promised myself I’d keep this article short and go work out (we gotta practice what we preach, right??) so here’s my last tip: Build community. There is a strong relationship between fulfilling relationships, happiness, cognitive stimulation, and longevity. In fact, research shows that social relationships not only cultivate a sense of purpose, but your positive friends and family members may also be positively contributing to your life expectancy.
Make sure you take note of the quality of your relationships. Are they supportive of your goals? Do they build you up? Do they support you as much as you support them? If not, it might be time to venture out and develop new relationships that nurture and support YOU.
In this article we talked about supplements for brain health, we talked about how diet can prevent dementia, we explored some amazing apps for the brain and even talked about lifestyle changes to get your brain back on track. Include these five tips into your daily regimen and you won’t have to worry so much about aging. In fact, you might actually find that your brain is sharper than it was during your “glory days” of past.
Sending you happiness, health, and love. See you next time!
Dr. Nicole Cain, ND, MA