5 ways women can protect their brains
Updated: Apr 4, 2022
Now that we know brain-health related issues impact women at a higher rate than men due to hormones and how our bodies react to stress (see more information here), let's talk about how to protect our brain health. This article from Prevention states women are more likely to develop Alzheimer's, certain brain tumors, depression, headaches and have a stroke—it also presents research on 5 ways to boost our brain health. Here they are!
1. Pay attention to memory slips and brain fog during perimenopause—these are signs that changes are happening in your brain and is an opportunity to take action to reduce your risk. For example, while science has been a bit challenging in this area, some believe that "if hormone therapy is prescribed when women have menopausal symptoms, it can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s." (Ref. below)
2. Eat brain-healthy food. Research shows that 50 year old women's brains look 5 years younger if they eat a Mediterranean diet—that means veggies, fish, fruits, nuts, beans, whole grains and foods high in fiber!
3. Get moving! "Exercise is one of the strongest preventive tools against Alzheimer’s disease for everyone, but it seems to be especially important for women: In females younger than 65, physical activity is associated with a 30% lower risk of Alzheimer’s compared with those who are sedentary"
4. Aim for quality sleep. Our bodies & brains repair and recover while we sleep, so getting quality rest is vital as we age (especially for women who have a harder time falling and staying asleep than men do). I suggest establishing a relaxing bedtime routine and limiting screen time at night.
5. "Lighten your mental load." Chronic stress caused by overwhelming responsibilities is really bad for our brains. For women, this often means juggling careers and households—be honest when there is too much on your plate!
These may seem like a lot of changes to implement at once, but try integrating one practice into your life every few weeks—add more veggies and fruits to your diet this month and focus on reducing screen time before bed next month. Imagine what it'll be like to feel mentally strong and full of vitality you get older—for me that means being able to keep up with my 3 teenagers and building the Empowered Women's Circle. At The EWC, we focus on up-leveling the body, mind and soul so that we can be present for the precious moments in life. If you're looking for support and a community of women doing the same, now is the time to learn about and register for the EWC Membership—summer season registration opens in May!
Sources: Why Women’s Brains Are More Vulnerable to Disease, From Anxiety to Alzheimer’s