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Mild cognitive decline is normal as we age. Even when we’re in middle-age, we might increasingly experience brain fog and similar symptoms.
While this may be normal, it’s not ideal.
When your cognitive abilities start to slip, you may be less productive at work, your quality of life may be diminished, and you could even be at greater risk of being involved in car accidents or getting injured in other ways.
As far as car accidents, think about how distracted driving can put you at risk. If your attention is deeply divided and you have trouble focusing on the task-at-hand, you can only imagine how dangerous this could be, especially when you’re sharing the road with big trucks.
Keeping your brain sharp should be a top priority no matter how old you are, and there are steps you can take to do so.
How to Keep Your Brain Sharp
Ask Your Doctor About a Turmeric Supplement
Of all the supplements marketed as being good for your brain, memory, and cognition, perhaps none is as studied and proven as turmeric. You can cook with turmeric, or you can take it in supplement form.
Turmeric is a bright gold spice that has been shown in studies to have numerous health benefits.
It’s an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties, which are probably big reasons why it keeps your brain sharp and good for your health and cognition.
For example, there was a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
It found that for adults between the ages of 51 and 84, all with mild memory problems, the use of turmeric supplements significantly improved memory as well as mood.
Before taking any supplement, talk to your doctor.
Practice Meditation and Mindfulness
Whether you’re at work or you’re driving on a busy roadway, mindfulness is something that you want to always be working toward.
We tend to disconnect and let our minds drift often without being focused on what we’re doing at any given moment.
You can keep your brain sharp and strengthen your attention and focus by working on mindfulness, which is best achieved with regular meditation.
There have been studies that have shown measurable brain benefits in people who regularly meditate. For example, meditation has been shown to increase gray matter in your brain.
If you find it hard to sit still, start small. Just give minutes a day of mindful meditation can keep your brain sharp.
Plus, it’s good to relieve stress and anxiety, both of which can be bad for your brain health and cognition if they become a chronic issue.
As part of your practice of mindfulness, try to regularly engage all of your senses.
When you use all of your senses and focus on doing so, brain imaging studies have shown it can increase activity in different parts of your brain and help your memory.
If you want to remember things, whether it’s a name, something you need to do, or something you just learned, repeat it to yourself right away. That reinforces the connections in your brain.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Your brain needs to be fueled by healthy, nutrient-dense foods.
If you’ve ever had, let’s say a weekend where you ate things you wouldn’t normally and you overindulged, you likely felt the effects the next day or perhaps even for several days.
For example, if you eat a lot of processed foods, you may feel brain fog, low energy and you may even have a lower mood than you do ordinarily.
The foods most commonly associated with improved brain health and memory include fish, nuts, and even red wine in moderation.
Try to have a diet that’s packed with healthy fats and antioxidants.
You might also want the occasional cup of green tea because it has antioxidants and polyphenols, both of which have been linked to a lower risk of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
Work On Your Posture
Working on your posture might just be one of the easiest things you can do for your brain.
When you sit up straight, it improves blood flow to the brain and circulation.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Earlier, we touched on the fact that problems with cognition and brain fog can put you at risk of being in an accident. So can sleep problems. Even for younger people, fatigue is one of the most common contributors to car accidents.
Aside from that, if you don’t get enough sleep, it can cause concentration and cognitive problems.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, when you sleep, new skills and memories move into permanent areas of your brain.
If you’re between the ages of 26 and 64, you need anywhere from seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
If you’re 65 and older, seven to eight hours is the recommendation.
Create a sleep routine if you have trouble in this area.
Be consistent. Have a bedtime that you follow every night, even on the weekends. Cut out stimulants at least six hours before you go to bed and limit your alcohol intake.
Listen to Music
Another simple way to improve your cognitive function is to listen to music or even to learn an instrument.
When you listen to or play music it’s been shown to improve memory function in older adults.
You can listen to music on platforms like Spotify, or you can watch musical performances online.
Finally, always try to learn new things to keep your brain sharp and be engaged with the world around you.
Learning a new language is a good option, and you can often do this for free online.
You can also learn something like cooking, knitting or gardening.
Along the way, what you learn can become a hobby that makes your life more joyful, and more joy is also good for your brain.
These are things you can start doing today to have a healthier, sharper brain that will benefit all areas of your life as you age.