Food and sex: how to keep the sharpness of the mind in old age - ForumDaily
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Food and sex: how to keep the sharpness of the mind in old age

When the President of the United States Joe Biden announces he is running for re-election, critics were quick to point out that he would be 86 at the end of his second term. Some argue that this is a problem. Although Biden has occasionally stumbled and made strange mistakes, those who work with him clearly consider him a very impressive and clear-thinking individual whose maturity and strategic thinking make up for it all. Edition Telegraph told how to keep your brain in great shape so that you can be like Joe Biden with age.

Photo: IStock

Concerns about the Democratic leader's age are not based on science; they are based on enduring myths about how our thinking changes over the years. It is erroneously believed that our brain cell count reaches its maximum when we are about 20 years old, and that after that we use up what is left. By this logic, by the time we reach about 90, there are almost no cells left.

But it's not. In fact, we create new brain cells all our lives - even at 90 years old. It is also not entirely true to say that if fate has handed you a good set of genes, your brain will flourish into old age and vice versa.

But a 2012 study from the University of Edinburgh found that only a quarter of the cognitive changes that occur with age are determined by genetics. The remaining three quarters are determined by lifestyle. And now we know it's never too early or too late to make lifestyle changes to improve your brain.

Yes, you can expect some deterioration in brain function with age, but you can also expect some improvement. Our embedded knowledge and wisdom stay with us and improve. Ironically, our vocabulary and word usage also improve with age.

On the subject: Teens who survived the COVID-19 pandemic are aging their brains too quickly

So what changes can we make now to think like a president even at 80?

declare war on the chair

Biden, 80, ran onto the stage for his 2020 victory speech and was seen running back to the White House in January after a medical checkup. Physical fitness is indeed the key to mental sharpness as you age. Going to the gym for 30 minutes every day or two is useless if you lead a sedentary lifestyle the rest of the time. The longer you sit, the more you should exercise.

In 2020, Norwegian researchers completed a 14-year study of more than 44 volunteers and found an association between risk of death and prolonged sitting that only decreased after 000 minutes of vigorous exercise.

When you exercise in any way—whether it's walking, bowling, tennis, swimming, or anything else—not only does your body get lean, it improves your brain health, in part because exercise releases cells that create a protein in the brain called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor) that is associated with learning and memory.

Maintain a sense of control and purpose

Feeling that we can influence the environment is proven to be healthy and improve our "health behavior". A four-year 2021 Canadian study found that a sense of control reduces the risk of ill health, including stroke, lung disease, physical limitations, cognitive impairment and chronic pain.

“Controlling” seems to change our health behavior for the better, such as seeking medical attention early before illness becomes serious. Last year, researchers in the US found that people with more purpose not only live longer, but also have fewer health problems, including depression, blood pressure problems and heart attacks.

Set regular goals

Goals give us a more positive outlook on life. Research shows that setting a realistic goal (say, running for president or “losing 10 pounds before Christmas”) can immediately make you feel more confident and increase your self-efficacy, even if you don’t reach it. straightaway. Your goals should be personal and consistent with your values.

A study published in The Neuroscience of Goals and Behavior Change in 2018 confirms that you are more likely to achieve your goals if you articulate them positively. Trust that your goals are achievable—that's what you're aiming for, not trying to avoid.

Stay Social

While we can't all meet and greet foreign heads of state or attend lavish banquets, staying social is vital in old age and should not be underestimated. Humans are social beings, and social cognition is an adaptation for survival. If you are chronically lonely, it will seriously affect your brain health.

For most people who are lonely, brain performance declines 20% faster than those who are not lonely, a remarkable finding from a 12-year study from Harvard University. Loneliness suppresses new brain cells. But this does not mean that you are doomed if you live alone. What matters is the acquisition and maintenance of meaningful social relationships.

Stimulate your mind

But don't rely on brain games. They don't bring all the benefits you thought. They are good for concentration, but there is no evidence that they can prevent the risk of cognitive decline or dementia.

However, data from the Disconnected Mind study at the University of Edinburgh suggests that if we engage in activities that allow us to constantly learn and improve, such as dancing or learning a foreign language, this will have the desired effect.

Diversify your diet

Biden likes chopped green salad with added protein in the form of grilled chicken (they say he also likes pasta). A good diet is extremely important for maintaining cognitive function. Fighting inflammation is important for protecting the brain, and one way to do this is to eat right.

Try to consume as many different foods as possible - colorful fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, fish and seafood. Fermented foods like yogurt and kimchi are good for brain health, and you should eat four servings of oily fish a week, like salmon, mackerel, cod and anchovies.

Everyone, even the leanest of us, should try to cut 10 percent of calories from their diet, as studies show that this can lead to a 10 percent improvement in memory over the course of a year.

Enjoy alcoholic drinks, but don't overdo it

Joe Biden is a known teetotaler, but drinking small amounts of alcohol - one drink a day for women and two for men - has a beneficial effect. Yes, there are risks from drinking alcohol in general, but at this end of the spectrum, they may be outweighed by the positives.

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A 15-year study by the US National Health and Nutrition Survey found that, among other markers of health, the incidence of cardiovascular disease was lower in those who drank moderately. However, excessive alcohol consumption is extremely harmful to the brain. It causes severe inflammation, leads to early cell death and memory impairment.

Maintain your sex life

Numerous scientific studies have shown that sex is extremely beneficial for the brain. It induces feelings of euphoria and releases serotonin, oxytocin and dopamine.

It also has an exercise element, equivalent to slow jogging. This raises your heart rate and has the added bonus of being socially active. An Australian study of people over 50 found that those who had frequent sex (once or twice a week) had better memory than those who didn't.

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