Are you using it or losing it? Maintaining brain health can be a tricky business especially in today’s time and age due to drawbacks of our modern lifestyle. Instead of challenging our brains, we are making it lazy and the consequences could be disastrous. A mind that doesn’t ‘exercise’ can shrink which could lead to cognitive decline and also increase risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Our eating habits could also take a toll as sugar-laden and high-calorie food can lead to inflammation of brain. Besides, alcohol and drug use can cause early brain tissue loss which could cause brain to age prematurely. (See pics: 6 signs that your brain is aging)
As regards Alzheimer’s disease, it is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells. Amyloid, a protein forms plaques around brain cells, while another protein tau could form tangles within brain cells. This process may start as early as at the age of 40 which is early-onset Alzheimer’s.
Anyone leading a stressful, sedentary and unhealthy lifestyle could be at early risk of Alzheimer’s or dementia. When the brain health starts to deteriorate, one doesn’t really derive joy from life and it seems like a burden. To avoid risk of these brain diseases, one must make healthy changes in lifestyle.
Dr. Mazhar Abbas Turabi, Consultant Neurosurgeon, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai tells HT Digital about harmful habits that could put us at risk of Alzheimer’s disease and also how we can turn around our lifestyle.
HARMFUL HABITS THAT CAN CAUSE ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE
1. Having a sedentary lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyles and inadequate exercise unquestionably slow down the brain as well as contribute to many lifestyle diseases. Exercise offers a number of advantages that fend off cognitive issues in addition to being essential for keeping our brains healthy and sharp as we age. They increase heart rate, release feel-good endorphins, and — most importantly — promote blood flow to the brain, which maintains brain health.
2. Insufficient sleep: Lack of sleep can cause sleepiness during the day and may lower your productivity and attention span. Not getting enough sleep for a long time may increase a level of protein in your brain called Tau, which is directly related to cognitive decline and can cause Alzheimer’s disease.
3. Dehydration: Normally, it is recommended to drink 8 glasses of water in a day as our body is made up of 70% of water. Therefore, not drinking enough water or consuming foods that contains liquid can cause dehydration which causes dementia.
4. Drug and alcohol use: Overindulging in alcohol for an extended period of time can harm your brain and raise your risk of dementia. Alcohol consumption in moderation hasn’t been definitively linked to an increased risk of dementia, nor has it been demonstrated to provide much protection against getting dementia.
5. A poor diet: Reduce the intake of high saturated fats like cheese butter cakes, red meat etc as they are known to increase the risk of cognitive issues. Instead, replace these foods by consuming fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamins and minerals.
HEALTHY HABITS FOR BRAIN
To keep our brains healthy, we should try to follow the following tips:
– Eat healthfully
– Abstain from alcohol and drugs
– Take a break from work and enjoy yourself
– Take the time to see your family
– Exercise and practise yoga
– Prevent stress