HOW TO KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG
We live in an “aging” world; with growing global life expectancies that result in the expectation that over 65’s will make up 17% of the world’s population in 2050 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). That does not necessarily mean we will all be aging healthily. Many people expect some physical problems when getting older but find the prospect of their brain aging the most daunting. So …. what can we do to keep our brains young?
We know that our brain shrinks and gets less blood flow with advancing age, especially after the age of 40, due to aging of molecules, cells and tissues in the brain. Some of this might be related to changes in hormones and neurotransmitters. The exact mechanisms are not yet fully understood. It is however clear that there is an increased risk of stroke, damage to white brain matter, dementia and memory impairment with advancing age. Protective factors include prevention of damage (cardiovascular events, trauma) and ongoing cognitive activity (education, occupation).
Aging of the brain happens in all people, however we can keep our brain a bit “younger” if we keep our cardiovascular system healthy, prevent or control diabetes, prevent head trauma and stay mentally active. Luckily, these are things everyone can do. You can keep your brain active through reading, learning, puzzles, or engagement in a (voluntary) job. And keep the body active too; this is not only good for blood flow in the brain and the production of new brain cells, but it is also beneficial for a healthy cardiovascular system (e.g. to keep blood pressure and cholesterol within normal limits) and good weight and blood sugar balances. And don’t we all feel – although tired – more relaxed and less stressed after some exercise? Walking for 30 to 60 minutes per day can already make a huge difference for your health!
A healthy diet with enough vegetables and fruits, good proteins and good (unsaturated) oils will help to reduce brain aging either through direct effects on the brain or through contribution to prevention of cardiovascular events, diabetes and high LDL cholesterol (the bad type of cholesterol). Smoking should be avoided, while alcohol should be reduced to 1-2 units per day.
Protection of your head is something to really “keep in mind”: make sure you don’t hurt your head: both head injury and poor mental health and rest can affect the cognitive functions of the brain. Make sure you sleep well, and avoid exhaustion, stress and anxiety as much as possible.
One other thing you could do is drink our vegan organic coffee; GLUCCOFFEE. This product contains extracts of the plant maca (official plant name: Lepidium meyenii), a plant from the Andes region in Peru. Recent studies indicate towards its beneficial effects on memory, learning and other cognitive functions. Our coffee does not contain caffeine, so you can drink it even before you go to bed, and still have no problem going to sleep!
- World’s older population grows dramatically. NIH-news. Accessed online 1st May 2018. First published 28th March 2016.
- Aging and the brain. R. Peters. Postgraduate Medical Journal. 2006 February; 82 (964): 84-88. Accessed online 1st May 2018.
- 12 ways to keep your brain young. Harvard health publishing – Harvard medical school. Accessed online 1st May 2018.
- Gonzales-Arimborgo C et al. Acceptability, Safety, and Efficacy of Oral Administration of Extracts of Black or Red Maca (Lepidium meyenii) in Adult Human Subjects: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2016 Aug 18;9(3). pii: E49. Accessed online 1st May 2018.
- Gonzales GF. Ethnobiology and Ethnopharmacology of Lepidium meyenii (Maca), a Plant from the Peruvian Highlands.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:193496. Accessed online 1st May 2018.