Researchers have been investigating brain health recommendations that help to reduce our risk for cognitive decline in older adulthood. Many of the tips that I’m going to share today are really about how to live your healthiest life and achieve optimal physical health, brain health, and mental health in older adulthood.
You may already be doing many of these tips. As you listen to this episode, take notes and make a list. Put a check mark by items that you are currently doing and a star next to the items that you need to be doing more of to achieve optimal health. At the end of the episode, give yourself some praise for what you’re already doing, then choose one of the starred items to focus on to optimize your brain health and mental health.
Let’s dive in to the 12 evidence-based brain health recommendations to reduce your risk for cognitive decline and dementia and promote mental well being:
Here’s a peek into the episode
- [02:55] Brain Health Recommendation #1: Engage in your social life by spending time with friends and in your community
- [07:29] Brain Health Recommendation #2: Avoid excessive alcohol & other harmful substances
- [09:49] Brain Health Recommendation #3: Eat a nutritious diet
- [13:54] Brain Health Recommendation #4: Maintain heart health (cardiovascular health)
- [16:01] Brain Health Recommendation #5: Engage in physical activity
- [19:36] Brain Health Recommendation #6: Get 7-8 hours of sleep a night (consistently)
- [23:33] Brain Health Recommendation #7: Find a sense of meaning and purpose in life
- [25:11] Brain Health Recommendation #8: Think positively about aging
- [30:22] Brain Health Recommendation #9: Engage in enjoyable activities
- [30:55] Brain Health Recommendation #10: Be mindful of medications contraindicated for older adults
- [32:32] Brain Health Recommendation #11: Avoid smoking and other environmental toxins
- [33:52] Brain Health Recommendation #12: Get treatment for mental health conditions, like anxiety and depression
- [36:33] I have a some exciting news to share. Listen to find out what it is.
Resources & References
- Want to quit smoking? Check out the American Lung Associations Quit smoking programs
- Physical Activity and Brain Health – Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH)
- Brain Food: GCBH Recommendations on Nourishing Your Brain Health
- The Brain and Social Connectedness: GCBH Recommendations on Social Engagement and Brain Health
- The Brain–Sleep Connection: GCBH Recommendations on Sleep and Brain Health
- Brain Health and Mental Well-Being: GCBH Recommendations on Feeling Good and Functioning Well
- Engage Your Brain: GCBH Recommendations on Cognitively Stimulating Activities
- The Beers List 2015
- “The XX Brain” by Lisa Mosconi, PhD
- Learn more about the toll of ageism on physical and mental health
- Levy BR, Slade MD, Pietrzak RH, Ferrucci L. Positive age beliefs protect against dementia even among elders with high-risk gene. PLoS One. 2018 Feb 7;13(2):e0191004. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191004. PMID: 29414991; PMCID: PMC5802444.
- Levy BR, Zonderman A, Slade MD, Ferrucci L. (2009) Negative age stereotypes held earlier in life predict cardiovascular events in later life. Psychological Science, 20:296–298
- Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Chang, E. S., Kannoth, S., & Wang, S. Y. (2020). Ageism amplifies cost and prevalence of health conditions. The Gerontologist, 60(1), 174-181.https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny131
- Levy, B. R., Slade, M. D., Kunkel, S. R., & Kasl, S. V. (2002). Longevity increased by positive self-perceptions of aging. Journal of personality and social psychology, 83(2), 261–270. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-35126.96.36.1991
- Levy, B. R., Ferrucci, L., Zonderman, A. B., Slade, M. D., Troncoso, J., & Resnick, S. M. (2016). A culture–brain link: Negative age stereotypes predict Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers. Psychology & Aging, 31(1), 82-88. https://doi.org/10.1037/pag0000062