At our Wealth Summit on Wednesday evening, Dr. Marc Milstein gave a fascinating talk on how to age-proof our brains. Marc is the best-selling author of The Age-Proof Brain and a nationally known neuroscientist and researcher on brain health at UCLA.
For those of you who weren’t able to attend, here are 7 actionable steps all of us can do help keep our brains healthy and working well all through life:
- Get good sleep. Marc referred to good sleep as the single most important thing we can do to protect and heal our brains. Seven to nine hours of quality sleep is the goal (good brain “washing” happens during deep sleep). Keys to that are having a very dark room for sleeping and getting into the morning sunlight for at least 10 minutes – within the first half hour of waking up (to reset our brain clocks). Prioritize sleep!
- Take time regularly to learn new things. The brain establishes new neural connections when it is forced to learn new things. Take up an instrument or learn a new language or take on even smaller tasks that are new and different for you. Once you’ve learned them, go on to something else.
- Allow stress to work for you. Perhaps surprisingly, stress can be good for the brain. Stress releases cortisol and in controlled amounts, cortisol is good for the brain. The key is to include times of destressing through prayer, mindfulness or meditation.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Marc shared that 80% of the time, strive to have only natural foods – the foods that are on the outside isles of the grocery store. He particularly mentioned green leafy vegetables, olive oil, fruits, nuts, fish and poultry – akin to the Mediterranean Diet.
- Reduce inflammation. Inflammation in the body impacts the brain as well. Begin asking your doctor to help you assess inflammation you may have and how to reduce or eliminate it.
- Do some kind of moderate exercise. Marc shared that new research indicates that mild to moderate exercise provides virtually all of the brain health benefits that more intense exercise provides. Walking each day for at least 30 minutes (broken up into smaller chunks is fine) works great – perhaps with a bit of extra exertion during a small portion of the walk.
- Take care of heart and diabetes conditions as they can negatively impact brain health.
To live your great life, live a life of health – and take care of that beautiful brain of yours!! Have a great weekend!
Written by Matt Palmer, Partner & Co-Founder