As we age, most of us will expect to become more absent-minded. What we might not understand though is that we can also expect to see our IQ decline. Fluid intelligence (the ability to wrestle with an abstract idea and produce an useful answer) is negatively connected with age, suggesting that the older we become, the slower we get.
What's more is that age brings the likelihood of a number of neurological diseases from Alzheimer's, to Parkinson's, to dementia.
But is this unavoidable? Or is there in fact a way to slow down and help prevent age-related cognitive decline? Continue reading and let's find out some of the most effective things you can do for your brain.
Use it or Lose It
Simply, the best way to prevent your brain from declining is to utilize it more. The more you challenge your brain, the more you will generate the important natural chemicals that stimulate plasticity and that keep you learning and keep you nimble.
Among the major concerns as we age, is that we generally stop learning new things or subjecting ourselves to new experiences. This can actually result in the brain becoming less flexible and adaptable and the connections that you no longer make use of will be pruned and the ones that you do use will become strengthened, making it hard to learn new tricks. A lot like an old dog!
This will also lower the quantity of neurochemicals like dopamine and norepinephrine you produce. The result is that you eventually become much less interested in new things, a lot less motivated and in general less cognitively nimble.
What's also really important is to move your body much more. The brain is actually built mainly for moving the body and this is the main way that it learns more about its surroundings. The more you move around and the more you challenge yourself to learn more motor exercises, the more your brain will thrive and strengthen.
This has actually been shown in studies where it has been seen that people who move less as they grow older will become more likely to see decreases in fluid intelligence.
You knew this was coming, healthy eating is also highly most important if you wish to enhance your brain power and keep it optimal as you age. The function of good nutrition is to supply your brain with all of the micronutrients it needs to have to perform optimally and that means amino acids to repair damage, saturated fats to help with communication through the brain and vitamins and minerals to help synthesize neurochemicals and enhance signals throughout the brain.
If you go extended periods without getting nutrients in your youth, this can land up resulting in cumulative damage that will affect you once you're older. For these reasons, it's absolutely necessary to keep supplying your brain with the best nutrients and to avoid things like alcohol that you know are harmful for it. Also essential is to find antioxidants, which will help to protect the brain from destructive free-radicals that can form tumors.
Look after your brain in your youth and it will take care of you when you're older!