What is the only opportunity we have to extend our youth, to savor life for a long time and at the same time to safeguard the health of the body? Always have a clear brain and mind. The brain is the organ capable of aging less than all the others. Less than the intestines, liver, skin or heart. The brain has a strength: plasticitythat is the property of modifying oneself, of adapting to the world and of self-repairing. It is the reason why it can evolve throughout the entire existence, expanding, literally, and building new connections between neurons. He explains it Michela Matteolidirector of the Institute of Neuroscience of the National Research Council (CNR), and coordinator of the Neuro Center of the Humanitas hospital in Milan, in the book The talent of the brain (Sonzogno). Our mind has great potential, and it was designed to be long lastingprovided, however, to preserve it from what is the main enemy of the whole nervous system: thechronic inflammationcause of premature aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Depression.
It is estimated that in the 2050 people affected by Alzheimer they will be over 130 million. A huge number, which frightens us, because perhaps no other pathology affects the individual so deeply in his being, undermining his innermost essence. The Alzheimer’s patient is no longer able to recognize loved ones, to remember the beautiful events of his life, he does not even realize what is happening around him.
What can we do to keep thechronic inflammation? We can implement strategies of preventionadopting the same lifestyle that drives away cardiovascular disease, diabetes or obesity “because – explains Matteoli – the same habits that counteract the onset of pathologies of the heart and its system are able to slow down, if not prevent, neurodegeneration».
Looking at the general picture, what are the basic rules for keeping the brain young and bright, and at what age should you start following them?
“They should already be adopted at a young age and they are few and clear: regular physical activitya healthy diet e a rich social life. Avoid theexcessive loneliness and the sedentary lifestyle. Maintain always curious and interested to the world around us “.
It is time to start following them (and therefore to start a cure anti – age for mind and brain) at an age closer to menopause, when there are already drops in mood due to hormones and precisely to fight them?
“Certainly any stage of life is good to start following these habits. Menopause is a very delicate moment for the female body: to start keeping these behaviors on a regular basis virtuous before the hormonal storm of menopause arrives, it certainly helps to better face this period ».
Which foods are good for the brain and which ones should be taken with caution?
«In 2015, the researchers of the Rush University Medical Center di Chicago have developed a food program aimed at keeping the brain young and preventing neurodegenerative diseases. This is the MIND Dietwith the word mind which stands for mind, but which is also the acronym of the mix of regimes that inspired it: Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. The MIND diet was born as a hybrid between the Mediterranean diet and the DASH diet, formulated years ago to combat hypertension. It provides for the consumption of Whole grains (such as brown rice, wholemeal pasta and wholemeal bread); fatty fish (such as salmon, sardines, trout and mackerel); legumes (such as beans, lentils and soy) e pollo o turkey, the latter no more than a couple of times a week. All topped off with spices e a little extra virgin olive oil. Naturally fruit e vegetables. The benefits of this diet or similar diets come from reduction of oxidative stress andchronic inflammation. Foods instead to be taken with cautionbecause they contain saturated fat and increase the production of free radicals, they are burro e Margarineaged cheeses and Red meat (which should be consumed no more than once a week), fried food e sweets (to be consumed no more than 4 times a week) ».