Six Ways to Promote Brain Health
The following is from McMaster University Optimal Aging Portal and contains some great advice.
Physical Activity and Weight Management
Follow the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines. Engage in 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous−intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more. Add muscle and bone−strengthening activities using your major muscle groups at least two days per week. Pick activities that you enjoy so you are more likely to stick with it. Eat a balanced diet to assist with weight management.
Diet and Nutrition
Adopt the Mediterranean Diet to optimize brain health. There is no evidence that vitamin and mineral supplementation will promote brain health.
Blood Vessel Health
Actively manage conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes to promote blood vessel health.
Smoking and Alcohol Use
Quit smoking and stay within Canada’s Low−Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines, which advise:
• For women: no more than 10 drinks a week, with no more than 2 drinks on most days.
• For men: no more than 15 drinks a week, with no more than 3 drinks a day most days.
• Plan non-drinking days every week to avoid developing a habit.
• For women aged 65+: no more than 1 drink per day, and no more than 5 per week.
• For men aged 65+: no more than 1-2 drinks per day, and no more than 7 per week.
• A standard drink is 142 ml (5 oz.) of wine, 341 ml (12 oz.) bottle or can of beer or 43 ml (1.5 oz.) of liquor.
Brain and Social Activity
Strive to maintain higher levels of brain activity in mid to late−life. Being socially active is an important predictor of well-being in general and brain health throughout life. For optimum effect, incorporate activities that provide both cognitive and physical elements such as yoga or tai chi. Health Conditions and Drug Side Effects
Watch for medications that have the potential for adverse effects on memory and cognitive function (e.g. benzodiazepines, ‘Z−drug’ sleeping pills and certain pain medications such as those that contain opioids. Treat depression, get adequate sleep, manage conditions that lower your oxygen levels, like heart failure, COPD, or sleep apnea. Get help with hearing loss.
Learn more about dementia and mild cognitive impairment with free online lessons developed by experts in dementia and online learning at McMaster University.
Fountain of Health
Tap into five actions you can take to maximize your health and happiness. Use The Wellness App assess your health and resilience, set doable goals and track your progress.
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
Learn more about the recommendations for adults and older adults. Download the guidelines from the
ParticipACTION website and access other helpful resources.
Access free and personalized tools to help you quit smoking successfully from the Canadian Cancer Society.
Canada’s Low-Risk Alcohol Drinking Guidelines
The guidelines for adults aged 18 to 64 were developed by the Canadian Centre for Substance Use and Addiction.
Baycrest Brain Health Diet
The Brain Health Food Guide, developed by Baycrest, provides practical advice about healthy eating for the aging brain.
Hacking Exercise for Health. The Surprising New Science of Fitness
Take this free online course developed by experts from McMaster University to learn more about the right mix between cardio and strength training.
McMaster Optimal Aging Portal
Your source for healthy ageing information you can trust.
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