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Keeping Your Brain Healthy

The brain is like a big team, and each part has its job, like remembering things, feeling emotions, and controlling how we act. Dementia happens when some of these brain cells get hurt or go away, making it hard for the brain to work right. One big reason for dementia is just getting older. Some people are more likely to get dementia if it runs in their family if they have a little trouble thinking sometimes, or if they are Black/African American or Hispanic/Latino.  

Alzheimer's disease is not a normal part of aging. Forgetting things is often the first sign of Alzheimer's and related memory issues. People with Alzheimer's may also have trouble with tasks they used to do easily, getting lost, managing money, making decisions, losing things often, and experiencing changes in mood or behavior. It's important to remember that having these signs doesn't always mean someone has Alzheimer's.  

Want to learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia, visit our Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia page. 

Stay ahead of Dementia with Risk Reduction Activities 

Your brain is a vital muscle and it needs regular exercise and proper care to stay strong and sharp. By adopting healthy lifestyle habits, you can maintain your brain and promote good heart health, which is crucial for keeping your mind in top shape. Here are some simple tips to help you maintain your brain and protect your heart. 

Stay Active: 

  • Exercise isn't just for your body—it's also great for your brain. Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. It could be anything from dancing or even just going for a brisk walk. 
  • Physical activity increases blood flow to your brain, delivering essential nutrients and oxygen that keep your brain cells healthy and functioning properly. 

Eat Well: 

  • Your brain needs a variety of nutrients to stay healthy, so make sure to eat a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.
     
  • Foods like berries, leafy greens, nuts, and fatty fish (like salmon) are especially good for your brain because they contain antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which protect brain cells and support cognitive function. 
  • Avoid excessive sugar and processed foods, as they can lead to inflammation in the body, including the brain. 

Get Enough Sleep: 

  • Sleep is essential for brain health and function. Aim for 8-10 hours of restorative sleep each night. 
  • During sleep, your brain consolidates memories, processes information, and removes toxins that build up during the day, so getting enough rest is crucial for optimal brain function. 

Challenge Your Brain: 

  • Keep your brain sharp by engaging in activities that stimulate your mind, like reading, solving puzzles, playing strategy games, or learning new skills.
     
  • Just like physical exercise, mental exercise strengthens your brain and can help prevent cognitive decline as you age. 

Stay Social: 

  • Spending time with friends and family is not only enjoyable, but it's also good for your brain. Socializing helps reduce stress and loneliness, both of which can negatively impact brain health.
     
  • Engage in activities that involve teamwork and communication, like social clubs or volunteering to keep your brain and social skills sharp. 

Take Care of Your Heart: 

  • Your heart health is closely linked to your brain health. A healthy heart ensures proper blood flow to your brain, delivering oxygen and nutrients essential for brain function.
     
  • To keep your heart healthy, avoid smoking, limit alcohol intake, and maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet. 

By following these lifestyle tips and prioritizing heart health, you can maintain your brain and support optimal cognitive function throughout your life. Remember, taking care of your brain is just as important as taking care of your body, so make healthy choices every day to keep your mind sharp and your heart strong. To learn more about your risk and actions you can take to reduce your risk, click here.  

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