Supporting Brain Health is a Key Focus Around the World
As many pharmacists can attest, brain health has become a key focus of interest among people young and old. How to support brain health is one of the most frequently asked questions at the pharmacy counter, surveys show.
Supporting optimal brain health as part of the normal aging process also has become a focus of health officials around the world. For example:
In the United States, officials offer a wealth of advice on healthy aging. These include tips to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity; eat a high quality, Mediterranean-style diet; get a good night’s sleep; find ways to avoid social isolation and loneliness; and engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as reading, writing letters, and playing games.
In Scotland, scientists suggest we should stimulate our brains by being with people and learning new skills. To support optimal brain health, they offer tips to enjoy time with other people and learn new skills throughout life; reduce risks by not drinking too much alcohol; and engage in regular exercise that gets your heart pumping.
In New Zealand, scientists offer similar advice on ways to stay sharp as we age. These include tips to take walks on a regular basis; get enough quality sleep; eat a balanced diet high in fresh, unprocessed foods, and low in salt and sugar; always wear a helmet for cycling, scootering, skateboarding, motorsport and horse riding; and have fun by connecting with friends and sharing a laugh.
Optimizing brain health in communities can improve overall mental and physical health and create positive social and economic impacts that contribute to greater wellbeing and advance society, according to a recent report by global health officials.
The report suggests brain health can be supported throughout our lifetimes by minimizing risks and enhancing protective factors.
Factors known to affect brain health as part of the normal aging process include optimizing physical health through exercise and diet; ensuring healthy environments with clean air and water; reducing stress through safety and security measures; continually learning and staying socially connected; and maintaining access to quality health services.
Pharmacists, as frontline providers around the world, already are helping their customers find ways to support brain health by advising many such common-sense approaches.