The brain is our most complex organ. It's also one of the most important. Striving to keep it healthy by participating in mentally stimulating activities such as reading, playing games, acquiring new skills, and attending social engagements, is vital at all ages. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that healthy behaviors, which have been shown to prevent cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, may also reduce risk for cognitive decline.
Here are seven CDC resources and steps you can take to help protect your brain health:
- Prevent and Manage High Blood Pressure –Tens of millions of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Take steps each day to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and under control.
- Quit Smoking – It’s never too late to quit smoking. Quitting smoking now improves your health and reduces your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses.
- Prevent and Manage High Cholesterol – Nearly 1 in 3 American adults have high cholesterol. You can help prevent and manage high cholesterol by making healthy choices and managing any pre-existing health conditions you may have.
- Get Enough Sleep – A third of American adults report that they usually get less sleep than the recommended amount of 7 or more hours per night. Adequate sleep is essential for healthy brain function.
- Be Physically Active – Studies show physical activity can improve thinking, reduce risk of depression and anxiety, and help you sleep better.
- Manage Blood Sugar – Keeping blood sugar levels within your target range helps to prevent or delay long-term, serious health problems. It also improves your energy and mood.
- If You Drink, Do So in Moderation – Over time, excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
For more information on brain health and cognitive decline, visit the CDC’s Healthy Body, Healthier Brain webpage.