There are many ways to protect ourselves financially. One is insurance – be it home, business, or disability. Another is by being careful with certain risks. Yet another is carefully manage our career. The list can go on.
One of the additional ways to protect ourselves is by staying healthy. Seems obvious, as one needs to be healthy in order to work. If we can’t work, the cash flow stops. Also, medical bills can add up quickly.
The thing is, when most of us think of being healthy, I believe we are generally referring to things such as keeping in shape and making sure we have the physical energy to work. Which, of course, makes sense. But I think that there is another area which perhaps doesn’t get as much attention as it could: keeping our brain sharp.
Yes, I think that we need to at least consider brain health as a long-term investment. Of course for our lives in general, first and foremost. But a side benefit is the impact it can have on our ability to earn money. Just as our capacity to make money can impaired by physical limitations, it could also be impaired by limitations of our brain. A healthy brain = healthier finances.
The reality is that plenty of people suffer cognitive decline and brain issues as they get older. Knowing someone who is dealing with this in old age, it’s very clear to me that it’s a frightening reality that people’s brains can give way sooner than their bodies. If we can’t function mentally, there are severe problems for us. Alzheimer’s and other related issues can be scary conditions that simply destroy lives.
Along those lines - for financial but mostly quality of life reasons – here are 5 things we can do to help maintain our mental functioning:
There have been studies that have shown that staying active can help reduce some risks of developing alzheimer’s. Being a couch potato and relatively inactive has other problems, obviously. But apparently it can have potential impacts on your brain as well.
I don’t know about you, but if I go through periods of inactivity, I can get sluggish. After regular exercise, and particularly after a good workout, I just feel more alert.
Eat Antioxidant-Rich Foods
It’s known that antioxidant-rich foods can have a variety of health benefits. One of them might be helping your brain, too. Having a good diet with plenty of these foods might help slow the decline of cognitive ability over time.
Personally, I like to add blueberries to my breakfast every morning. A bowl of oatmeal with ground flaxseed and some fresh berries has become a staple of mine. Now, I unfortunately have made enough mistakes during the lunch and dinner portions of my diet :) However, at least I’ve gotten breakfast down pretty good.
Doing a quick search for antioxidant-rich foods is a good start to becoming more informed.
Limit Bad Fats
Those bad fats, which can include trans-fats and saturated fats, can potentially cause problems for our brains. Things I’ve read seem to indicate that excess consumption of such fats can increase the risks of cognitive issues, and might even cause actual changes at the cellular level. That doesn’t sound fun!
Again, we know not to eat these things too often. The next time you consider whether or not to eat that greasy burger with greasy fries, don’t just think of your waistline. It might be less than ideal for your brain too!
Check nutrition labels, and do your own research.
Not everybody is a social butterfly, and some people tend to be introverted. Others simply don’t care what people think, and tend to have a narrow focus in terms of their inner circle.
Well, from what I’ve read, there is work out there that indicates that having a good social life and a network of friends and family can help delay the onset of cognitive issues. I have no idea if this is partially innate in some people, in terms of their personalities – or if some are more predisposed than others. But it does indicate that being socially active might be a good thing.
Watch Blood Pressure
Hypertension, particularly when we are talking about uncontrolled high blood pressure, can lead to real problems for people. Studies seem to indicate this could be linked to an increase in alzheimer’s risk. Additionally, this can be linked to vascular dementia, where tiny blood vessels in the brain are negatively impacted. Oxygen being shut off, with cells dying, can’t be a good thing for memory.
It seems like it would be a good idea to really watch our diet to make sure that we’re consuming food that isn’t negatively impacting our blood pressure. Additionally, we should probably monitor it regularly.
What it All Means
Well, I think it’s clear that there are plenty of things we could do to help maintain our cognitive function and either prevent or delay future impairment. I’m obviously not a medical profession, so don’t take any of this as medical advice. Do your own research, but I’m just passing along some things I’ve read. This from a person who knows someone afflicted in old age with congitive impairment.
It’s obvious that we can’t do much good for our finances if our brain isn’t working optimally. It hurts the ability to make money, and it impacts our ability to make sound decisions. Additionally, having big problems could lead to catastrophic financial costs for oursleves or our family.
Bottom line is that I think it’s good to actively make decisions that consider the health of our brain.
My Questions for You
Do you ever consider the importance of health in terms of finances?
Do you consider brain health as something to focus on as we get older? If so, how do you approach this?
Have you known anyone older who has had such issues?