On March 23, FJP hosted a webinar with special guest, Dr. Marc Milstein. In his recent book, Dr. Milstein shared the results of his research on ways to maximize productivity, slow aging and lower the risk for dementia so you can age-proof your brain.
Dr. Milstein shared with us that:
- 1/3 of all dementia is preventable
- 47 million people have dementia worldwide and this is expected to grow to 115 million people by 2050
This article will recap the important points shared during the webinar on how you can age-proof your brain. We will discuss:
- Quality Sleep Can Help
- The Benefits of Continuous Learning
- Keep Inflammation Low
- The MIND Diet
- Additional Things You Can Do
- Actions to Age-Proof Your Brain
- When You See Your Doctor
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Quality Sleep Can Help
Dr. Milstein shared that during the day brain cells can accumulate (Amyloid plaques) that can interfere with the communication of the Neurons in the brain.
When does your brain take out the trash? When you sleep, your brain shrinks by as much as 60% and it squeezes toxins out of your brain cells, and it gets a wash! So, the first way to reduce aging of your brain, which is very important, is to get a good night sleep.
Dr. Milstein recommends against the use of over-the-counter sleep aids as they do not provide the best type of sleep that allows the best washing of the brain . One thing that has been found to help is to make the room where you sleep as dark as possible.
The Brain Clock is a part of the brain that resets every day. At night, when it is dark, the body produces Melatonin to help it sleep. It has been found that for the optimal production of Melatonin, it is best for your room to be total dark when you sleep. In the morning, when the sun comes up, when your body sees the natural sunlight it knows that it is time to wake up. It has been found that getting 10 minutes of natural light in the first 30 minutes after waking up can help reset your Body Clock.
The Benefits of Continuous Learning
Research has shown that your brain benefits from learning NEW things every day. While sleeping, the brain finds new connections in between the cells that are created from learning and it strengthens them. So, the second way to clean your brain and reduce the aging is to find something that is challenging for you and something that you enjoy! This can include learning to play a musical instrument, learning a new sport or learning how to paint. Social interaction with lots of people is also very helpful.
Learning creates new connections between brain cells. While sleeping, your brain cells strengthen the connections between them that occurred while learning new things that day. This can include learning new things like playing a musical instrument or learning a new sport.
Keep Inflammation Low
Research has shown that the third way to clean your brain and reduce aging is to keep inflammation low in the body. It is important to effectively treat heart diseases that can cause inflammation. Heart disease can lead to autoimmune illnesses and injury. Dr. Milstein recommends treating this fully, not halfway, and to contact your doctor if you have questions about this. You can ask your doctor to take the CRP blood test to find the amount of inflammation in the body.
Gingivitis is the form of gum disease that happens when plaque, a naturally occurring film containing bacteria, builds up on teeth and causes the inflammation of the surrounding gum tissue. This bacterium produces a protein that destroys nerve cells in the brain, which can ultimately lead to the loss of memory and ultimately to Alzheimer’s. So, as your dentist says, floss your teeth daily.
The MIND Diet
Diet can also help you slow the aging of your brain. The best diet for this is called the MIND diet, which lowered Alzheimer’s risk by about 35% for people who followed it moderately well, and up to 53% for those who adhered to it rigorously.
The MIND diet includes these foods:
- Green leafy vegetables: every day
- Other vegetables: at least once per day
- Nuts: every day
- Berries: at least twice per week
- Beans: every day
- Whole grains: three times per week
- Fish: at least twice per week
- Poultry: at least twice per week
- Olive oil
- Wine: one glass per day
Our wine lovers will like hearing that that they can drink a glass of wine a day knowing that it could be making their brain healthier. 😊
Another study found that eating the following foods lowered the risk of dementia by one third: kale, broccoli, tea, tomatoes, apples, spinach, and beans.
A study on processed food found that people should avoid ultra-processed food and found:
- There was a 28% faster rate of cognitive decline and a 25% faster rate of executive-function decline when eating ultra-processed foods, when compared to the people who ate the least processed foods
- 58% of the calories consumed in the U.S. population come from ultra-processed foods
Avoiding fast food restaurants is probably good for a variety of reasons, along with introducing more healthier foods overall.
Additional Things You Can Do
There are some additional things you can do to reduce the aging of your brain:
- Avoid high blood pressure
- Avoid obesity
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid diabetes or effectively treat it if you have it
- Look for ways to reduce your stress
- Walk for 30-40 minutes per day (it does not all need to be done at the same time)
Exercise is medicine for the brain. It helps blood flow to the brain, improves sleep and helps balance your immune system. Walking for 30-40 minutes per day is very beneficial and the walking does not all need to be done at the same time. Dancing and playing sports have been found to be a very beneficial forms of exercise because they include physical exercise, social interaction and mental challenge.
Actions to Age-Proof Your Brain
To summarize, there are many simple, yet very important things we can all do every day to reduce the aging of our brain.
Eight things you can make a priority to improve your brain health:
- Sleep – Get adequate, quality sleep each day
- Learning – Learn NEW things, have fun mentally and be socially engaged
- Stress – Manage your stress by being mindful of it
- Inflammation - Keep inflation low, including flossing your teeth daily
- Diet – Consider the MIND diet and eat real food, avoid processed food
- Exercise – Get moderate exercise, including walking and dancing
- Diabetes – Get treatment if you have diabetes
- Take care of your heart
When You See Your Doctor
The next time you see your doctor, you can ask your doctor to check your cholesterol and blood pressure. Remember to ask them to check for inflammation with the CRP blood test and you can also run tests for diabetes by checking your hemoglobin a1c.
We want to thank Dr. Marc Milstein for sharing this important information. If you would like to learn more about this, you can purchase his book, “The Age-Proof Brain – New Strategies to Improve Memory, protect Immunity & Fight Off Dementia”.
About Dr. Marc Milstein
Dr. Marc Milstein specializes in taking the leading scientific research on health and happiness and presents it in a way that entertains, educates, and empowers his audience to live better. His presentations provide science-based solutions to keep the brain healthy, lower the risk of dementia, boost productivity and maximize longevity. He earned both his Ph.D. in Biological Chemistry and his Bachelor of Science in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology from UCLA.
Dr. Milstein has researched topics including cancer biology and neuroscience, and his work has been published in multiple scientific journals. Dr. Milstein has been quoted breaking down and analyzing the latest research in popular press such as USA Today, New York Post, and Oprah Daily. Dr. Milstein has also been featured on television, explaining the latest scientific breakthroughs that improve our life.
Dr. Milstein's new book "The Age-Proof Brain" has been nominated for "The Next Big Idea Award" for best non-fiction work and has been a #1 best seller on Amazon in several categories, including, Aging, Longevity, and Neuroscience. Learn more at www.drmarcmilstein.com.
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The views expressed by Marc Milstein, PhD do not necessarily reflect the views of Mutual Advisors, LLC or any of its affiliates. Dr. Marc Milstein is not affiliated with Mutual Advisors or any of its affiliates.