How to Stay Sharp and Avoid Dementia as You Age

General Health

womanBy now, most of our readers recognize the amazing connection between coconut oil and Alzheimer’s. Numerous studies show how coconut oil is almost a ‘miracle’ solution for those suffering from cognitive decline like dementia. Though while coconut should probably be first choice for those looking for a solution, there are numerous other things you can do to stay sharp as you age.

As we age,  a neurotransmitter known as acetylcholine diminishes. It needs to be increased as we approach or pass mid-life with the right nutrients. Even if brain memory cells are not damaged, accessing those memories can be exercises in futility if there is not enough acetylcholine.

Nutritional Approaches to Preserving the Brain

  • There are choline compound supplements, such as choline bitartrate and CDP-choline available as precursors for increasing acetylcholine in the brain. According to Dr. Ray Sahelian, MD, these can furnish rapid results for memory improvement.
  • The herbs ginkgo biloba and ginseng are well known to help improve memory.
  • Omega-3 rich foods such hemp, flax, chia seeds, or fish and krill oils also help support acetylcholine production.
  • My personal experience has been that the Ayurvedic herb Brahmi or Bacopa monierri is the best herb for enhancing memory and mental clarity. As with any herb, you need to give it a little time to take effect.
  • L-arginine is a precursor for nitric oxide (NO), a gas that enhances blood flow to brain blood vessels and other organs. Brain benefits are considered secondary to NO’s ability of preventing heart attacks and strokes. But nitric oxide has been found to benefit anti-aging and brain deterioration associated with aging.

5 Things to Eat to Protect Your Brain as it Ages

Non-Nutritional Approaches

Most hormones decrease with age, but not cortisol, according to Dr. Al Sears, MD. Cortisol increases with age and is a major source of mental or brain deterioration. Since stress produces this “fight or flight” hormone, minimizing stress can eliminate excess cortisone production.

Meditation is a proven method of reducing stress tensions. Truly relaxing to the point of releasing all tense muscles is a powerful practice for curbing cortisol production. Exercise helps too, and it doesn’t have to be vigorous. Brisk walking for a mile or so a few times a week has demonstrated improved memory and mental acuity as people reach middle age and later.

Using your mind more for interesting pursuits instead of less as you age is wise. “Use it or lose it” applies here too. Instead of retiring to a life of absolute leisure, engage regularly in some activity that’s interesting to you and that requires using your noggin.

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