Brain Health

Jun 2, 2023 | Mental Health

There is a growing body of evidence indicating that women’s brain health is a critical issue we don’t consider very often. The month of June is a time to spotlight women and brain health.

Did you know that women are more likely than men to experience certain brain-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, and they also experience greater cognitive decline as they age? Given the importance of brain health for women, it is essential that we promote awareness and understanding of this issue. We must also provide women with the resources they need to maintain healthy brains throughout their lifetimes.

Maintaining a healthy brain is important for women of all ages. We live in a world where so many things press upon us and it seems we are all plagued with some degree of brain fog or brain fatigue. It’s not enough to start worrying about our own brain health when we are middle aged and beyond. A proactive approach is much more effective.

There are many things you can do to keep your brain healthy, and it involves a multi-disciplinary approach.

  1. Mental. What are you doing to strengthen your mental health or mental exercise? We know by now, the detrimental effect that stress has on our body. This includes the toll it takes on our brain health. Mental exercises include things like games that make you think such as Suduko, crossword puzzles, Scrabble or learning a new skill. Learning helps create new neural pathways. Mental health can be classified as things we do to calm our mind and manage stress. Meditation along with breathing are misunderstood tools when it comes to alleviating stress. They are important habits to create and establish long before your brain starts showing signs of slowing down.
  2. Physical. Exercise…the thing we love to hate is a wonderful way to keep our brain in ship shape health. Researchers have discovered that exercise keeps your brain from shrinking as you age. Exercise also aids in neurogenesis, or the creation of new brain cells. Women who are active throughout their life are less likely to be susceptible to cognitive problems.
  3. Nutrition. Perhaps you are unaware of the toll poor nutrition has on our sensitive yet powerful brains. Activities like drinking, smoking, and recreational drug use directly affect the brain. Alcohol consumption, even a little, affects the part of the brain associated with balance, memory, judgment and speech. Focus your efforts on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables of the organic variety.
  4. Social. Humans are social creatures even though at times, we may feel better suited to live a life of reclusivity. Various stressors of life can have us feeling like we need to hide out from the people around us, but the connection with others is a natural healer for the brain. It was Desmond Tutu that coined the phrase Me-We. Healthy and safe connections with others create a state of integration and receptivity. Neural fibers grow stronger and our sense of self, stability and safety is enhanced, all important features to good brain health.

Even making small changes in these areas can garner big results. The sooner you start, the better you feel in the long run. Brain health is critical to the aging process and ensures, at least in part, a long healthy life.

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