Brain function is important, and plays a huge role in our day to day life. Declining brain function may mean not being able to work at the capacity you used to, it may hinder creativity, or even make it difficult to tell a joke if you start forgetting the punch line before you're done telling the joke. But even though brain issues may not immediately sound like something you can deal with at home, there is a lot of thing you can do at home to support your brain in the important work it does.
What are the Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment?
It's relatively normal to notice your brain changing as you get older, but keep an eye out for consistent signs that your brain doesn't function the way it should. Getting more forgetful, losing track of appointments, losing your train of thought, or the thread of a conversation, book, or movie are causes for concern. If you suddenly become more impulsive, show poor judgement, or have trouble finding your way in familiar places, you might want to check with your doctor. Especially if your friends or family comment on these changes, it's worth looking into. You may also be easily overwhelmed by planning steps needed to complete a task, understanding instructions, or making decisions. If you suffer from MCI there's also a chance that you'll experience apathy, depression, anxiety, aggression, or irritability.
If you want to give your brain some extra support, you may want to try supplements such as a liquid Vitamin B12. You can also support your brain with the powerful antioxidant CoQ10 Ubiquinone Coenzyme. Even though this potent compound is found naturally in food, it's smart to supplement if you don't have enough.
How to Prevent Mild Cognitive Impairment
There is no guarantee that you'll stave off mild cognitive impairment simply by doing these things, since MCI can't always be prevented. But certain steps may lower your risk of ever developing it. Avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol use, air pollution exposure, head injuries are a good start. Other things you can do is managing medical conditions such as obesity, depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, or hearing loss (like wearing your hearing aid).
What you eat has an effect on whether or not you'll get MCI, so make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and other healthy foods.
Ways You Can Love Your Brain
1. Eat Fatty Fish
There are many studies that show that fatty fish will improve your brain health, hence the popularity of supplements such as krill oil, cod liver oil, or plain old fish oil. Whether you prefer including fresh salmon and cod in your diet, or supplement with fish oil is up to you.
2. Put Your Brain to Good Use
Your brain is one of those things where you have to "use it or lose it", so put it to good use! Create art, paint a picture, do a jigsaw puzzle, and play games that make you think strategy (like card games) to challenge your brain.
3. Get Moving
Raising your heart rate increases the blood flow to your body and brain, so find an exercise you love and do it regularly. It will reduce your risk both of MCI and heart disease, that can also negatively impact your brain and cognitive health. Regular exercise is a double-whammy, dealing with high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes, as well as helping your brain stay healthy.
4. Don't Lose Sleep
Sure, getting enough sleep is easier said than done. But the fact is that insomnia, sleep apnea, and other sleep disorders will impact your brain, memory, and ability to think clearly. So even if getting good sleep is sometimes impossible, do your best to practice good sleep hygiene.
5. Invest in Your Friendships
Friendships and social engagements play a part in a healthy brain. So reach out to your community, join a choir, or book club, volunteer your time to work with children, animals, or the elderly. Or simply stay in touch with family and friends.
6. Protect Your Head
We're all trying to avoid brain injuries, but it is worth going the extra mile to protect your brain. So although it's doesn't sound fun, wear a seat belt, prevent falls, and wear a helmet when riding horses or bikes, or when playing contact sports.
7. Eat Up
Your body needs proper fuel to work the way it's supposed to, and this goes for your brain as well. So eat a healthy, balanced diet to keep your brain functioning at its best. Oranges, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, eggs, broccoli, coffee, and dark chocolate are considered especially good for brain health.
8. Quit Cigarettes
Not surprisingly, smoking impacts brain health and puts you at risk of cognitive impairments. The good news is that the risk disappears when you quit smoking and you'll go back to having the same risk as a person who's never smoked.
9. Manage Your Mental Health
There's many good reasons to keep a handle on your mental health, but since depression has been linked to MCI, it's also important for your brain health. Try to manage stress as best you can, and see a doctor immediately if you have any symptoms of anxiety or depression.
Take Care of Your Brain and avoid MCI
Brain health doesn't have to be difficult. Many of the suggestions above are things that are easy enough to implement, and healthy foods and supplements are only a click away!