The Aging brain – Proven Steps To Prevent Dementia And Sharpen Your Mind

I have completed reading the second book of the year and writing down a summary as per the promise I made to myself. It is the previous book that motivated me to pick a book that talks about human brains. In the book “Conversational Intelligence,” the author Judith E. Glaser provided many insights into how our brain reacts to threats or fear. So, I picked the following book as my next choice, expecting that it will give me a deeper understanding of Judith E. Glaser’s concepts.

2021 Book #2:

I started reading this book on February 10 and completed it on February 17, five hours of reading over eight days. This book focused on explaining how our brain ages, changes, evolves, along with recommendations on lifestyle changes to prevent dementia. My interest was mostly around understanding how brain functions deteriorate and how to improve brain health. So, I skipped sections of the book, which talked in-depth about dementia and other illnesses. Similarly, I cut portions that talked extensively about the health impacts of alcohol, smoking, drugs, etc., because those were not applicable for me, and I do not have any intentions to start such habits anytime soon 🙂

Healthy Body for a Healthy Brain

“If you want to get something stronger, you must exercise it. If you don’t use it, you lose it!”

Citing several studies and examples, the author establishes that the body and brain are intimately connected, and one cannot maintain brain health without keeping a healthy body. So, naturally, healthy practices such as healthy food, regular exercise, ample sleep are essential to keep the brain in good health.

“Environmental factors, life experiences, and even the thoughts we think can impact how our DNA is being expressed.”

The benefits of being grounded

“Direct contact with the earth, such as walking barefoot on grass, swimming in the ocean, touching a tree, etc., helps to be grounded and achieve electrical balance.”

Daily electrical reset results in improved sleep, reduced pain, normalization of cortisol levels, less fatigue, better energy, and lower blood pressure. For those of you interested, given below are a few additional references for this.

Intermittent Fasting

“Intermittent fasting slows aging, improves brain health, and prolongs life.”

Several studies highlight that intermittent fasting or caloric restriction can improve brain health, slow down aging, and prolong life. This reminded me of the Nobel Prize-winning discoveries of mechanism for autophagy by Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi in 2016.

Key Takeaways

  • Chronic anxiety, worry, conflict, and stress cause too much damage to our body and brain, including accelerated aging. 
  • Stress Reduction, meditation, physical exercise, a healthy plant-based diet, etc., can increase telomeres’ length, slowing down aging. 
  • While high sugar consumption reduces the length of telomeres.
  • Standing several hours a day does increase the length of telomeres (One more reason for me to love my standing workstation, where I spend several hours working each day :))
  • Continuous exposure to loud noise activates the brain’s fear/stress circuitry.
  • Bring different experiences to life. Stimulate your interest and expand your imagination: art, music, crafts, bird watching, visiting national parks, and so on.

Summary

I enjoyed reading this book, and in fact, it motivated me to read many scientific and medical research papers and studies referenced in the book. This book inspired me to continue some of the healthy practices I started some time ago because now I have proven reasons and research conclusions to support those practices. For example, intermittent fasting, adopting a more plant-based diet, trying to work more from my standing workstation (sitting less), regular exercise, yoga, meditation, staying more time “grounded to the earth,” etc.

I would recommend this book for anyone who wants to understand more about how our lifestyle and environments, such as food habits, constant exposure to loud noise, stress, etc., impact our body, brain, expression of genes, and overall health. Many health improvement recommendations in this book are already well known; however, this book adds a lot of value by explaining why and how by citing real-life examples, scientific studies, and research findings.

Additional Reading

Two additional books I added to my reading list, based on the references given in this book, are the following:

2021 Reading Progress