Eat a plant-based diet. Eating too much sugary, highly processed food is bad for the body and the brain. It can alter blood flow to the brain and impair brain cognition. This may be a reason why diabetes is a risk factor for cognitive dysfunction. Our brains need glucose to function and more natural whole foods provide a slower and more constant source of fuel. The Mediterranean Diet, in particular, has been shown to be brain-healthy. It focuses on a high intake of vegetables, fruit, cereals, unsaturated fats, and a low intake of dairy products with a moderate intake of fish.
Be purposeful and connected. Enjoying pleasurable activities with loved ones and friends, and celebrating your accomplishments can stimulate the activity in your left prefrontal cortex. Get together with your friends and do something meaningful. People who have a rich social network and who have a clear purpose in life have been shown to have a decreased instance of Alzheimer's. The key is to increase the frequency of positive experiences.
Make sleep a priority. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, sleep appears necessary for our nervous systems to work properly. It gives us "downtime" for growth and repair. Studies indicate that many of the body's cells show increased production and reduced breakdown of proteins during sleep.
Cross-train your brain. The saying "use it or lose it" clearly applies to brain fitness. It's vital to constantly step out of your comfort zone by using novelty, variety and challenge. If you play chess, then take up hiking. If you do a lot of physical activities, then learn another language.
Manage stress and meditate. The stress hormone cortisol can kill brain cells, and chronic stress can cause memory loss. Any form of stress management is good. Meditation offers a brain boost. In addition to lowering stress, it has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow and activate certain parts of the brain to improve concentration, focus and mood.
Hydrate. Start your day with a glass of pure water to flush the accumulated toxins from your body, and drink plenty of water throughout the day. There's an app to remind you if you forget.
Balance. Develop overall equilibrium while waiting for your morning tea or coffee to brew. With one arm outstretched for balance and the other resting on your shoulder, stand on one foot resting the other on your calf or thigh (not your knee). Switch feet after a few minutes. As your balance improves try closing your eyes.
Exercise often. Consistent aerobic exercise can generate new cells and blood vessels in the brain, and increase the brain's volume principally in the frontal and temporal areas involved in executive control such as planning and working memory.
Monitor yourself. Our everyday actions, with the help of technology, can help boost our brain health and thrive at every point in life. Be aware of your body, its needs and changes.
Educate yourself. Do your own research and take advantage of the many resources for traditional and alternative medicine. A good resource is Dr. Bruce Ames, who has done extensive work on nutrition and metabolism, longevity and carcinogens.