Chronic fatigue, depressed mood, and forgetfulness are among the most common complaints of modern man.
Photo: Svetlana MAKOVEEVA
Chronic fatigue, depressed mood, and forgetfulness are among the most common complaints of modern man. And these same signs are often characteristic of brain aging. “The accelerated decline in cognitive function with age is a real disaster. People suffer from memory, attention, thinking,” says one of the leading Russian gerontologists, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Moskalev. The good news is that researchers already know of a number of factors that affect the rate of brain degradation. And some of these levers are in our hands. By changing your lifestyle, you can slow down the aging of our main organ, encourages Professor Moskalev.
Gerontologist, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexei Moskalev
Photo: personal archive
The scientist himself in his profession achieves as much as many never dreamed of. He conducts research, organizes major international conferences, writes best-selling books on life extension. Recently it became known that Alexei will head the first Russian Institute of Aging Biology, which is being created on the basis of Nizhny Novgorod State University. Lobachevsky. How to keep up with everything, maintain high efficiency and at the same time not get sick from overwork? What methods of preserving the youth of the brain does the professor himself practice? At the request of Komsomolskaya Pravda, the scientist spoke about these studies and shared his own recipes.
RULE 1: PROTECTION AGAINST NEUROINFLAMATION
– About 10% of all brain cells are so-called microglia, – says Alexey Moskalev. – Its most important task is immune surveillance in the brain. Furthermore, microglial cells are involved in protective reactions if foreign agents enter nervous tissue. These can be infectious agents, various toxins, heavy metals, organic pollutants (from air, food, etc.).
However, what is good in moderation can become not only useless, but also dangerous when “overdosed”. The same is true of the protective function of microglia. With excessive activation of immune cells in the brain, neuroinflammation develops, explains Professor Moskalev. “Activated microglia disrupt the formation of connections between neurons (synapses). As a result, there are failures in the memorization and learning processes”, says the scientist. Furthermore, neuroinflammation is associated with accelerated brain aging.
In a word, all our efforts should be aimed at avoiding “overexcitation” of microglia and their destructive action. Alexey Moskalev listed the most common factors that can cause adverse reactions in the brain.
STAY IN CONTACT!
What to look for first:
– infections. Among those that can enter the nervous tissue of the brain, including the pathogens of COVID-19, influenza and herpes. Of the first two, there are vaccines that reduce the risk of serious complications. From herpes – effective antiviral drugs that are prescribed during an exacerbation;
– Prolonged stress. In addition to bad mood and anxiety, they can hit the brain on a physiological level, causing neuroinflammation. So find ways to reduce stress that work for you personally. Alexey Moskalev is helped by classes in the gym, swimming, communication with like-minded people;
– chronic pathological states. The most unfavorable for the brain are high blood pressure (hypertension), atherosclerosis (cholesterol deposits in the walls of blood vessels) and high blood glucose levels. Fortunately, all these pathologies are successfully treated today. The main thing is to get to the doctor, and then follow his recommendations.
RULE 2: HEALTHY AND HARMFUL FOOD
Industrially processed foods lead to chronic inflammation throughout the body, including the brain, warns Professor Moskalev. These are sausages, sausages, sausages, French fries, semi-finished products loved by many.
Also, sweets damage the brain. The WHO considers that the norm is up to 25 g of sugar per day, including its content in all products. It’s 6 teaspoons. However, scientists, experts in the fight against aging, emphasize that in order to slow down the decrepitude of the body, it is necessary to limit sweets as much as possible. Alexey Moskalev has been completely abstaining from sugar for many years. It can be replaced with fruits, dried fruits, a small amount of honey.
At the same time, there are foods that reduce the threat of inflammation! These are sources of valuable substances – polyphenols and omega-3 fatty acids:
– vegetables, vegetables;
– berries, fruits;
– spices (pepper, turmeric, saffron);
– Fish and shellfish.
“I try to have these products in the center of my daily menu,” says the scientist.
RULE 3: SUPPORT THE GUT MICROFLORA
“Studies show that altered gut microflora plays an important role in neurodegeneration,” says Professor Moskalev. Therefore, it is important to keep your balance.
The researcher does this with foods that good gut bacteria “love” and advises:
– strive to have dietary fiber on your menu every day. Its sources: whole grains (brown rice, barley, oats), legumes, greens, vegetables, fruits;
– limit foods that negatively affect the intestinal microflora. First of all, these are fast carbohydrates (sweets, pastries) and red meat. The latter is best replaced with poultry and fish. In extreme cases, eat no more than 100-150 g of pork, beef or lamb 1-2 times a week.
RULE 4: EXERCISE AGAINST DEPRESSION AND DEMENTIA
– Regular physical activity contributes to the production of endorphins (“happiness hormones”) and the so-called neurotrophic growth factor BDNF. These substances have an anti-inflammatory effect. BDNF also stimulates and controls neurogenesis -the growth of new nerve cells-, pleases the expert. – Regular aerobic exercise and strength training have been shown to reduce the risk of depression and slow age-related cognitive decline.
! The following schedule is considered optimal for healthy longevity:
– 30 – 60 minutes of daily aerobic exercise 3 – 5 times a week. These can be: brisk walking, swimming, aerobics, cycling, skiing, skating, etc.;
– power loads – a set of exercises with weights twice a week. For example: push-ups, squats, weight lifting, simulator training;
– if you have a sedentary job, then every hour you need to do a warm-up or do something around the house (if you are away), advises Alexey Moskalev.
RULE 5: SLEEP TO “CLEAR” THE BRAIN
During the deep sleep phase, when the body’s muscular system is completely relaxed, the brain gets rid of the toxic “waste” accumulated during work, explains the scientist. If a person sleeps little or badly, then the brain cannot fully recover. There is an increased risk not only of temporary memory impairment, but also of the threat of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Alexey Moskalev gives the following tips to improve the quality of sleep, proven on his own experience:
– ventilate the bedroom well;
– hang thick curtains that do not let light in, or wear an eye mask;
– do not eat at night (the scientist himself has dinner 4-5 hours before bedtime) and do not drink alcohol at night.
IN PLACE OF DEPARTURE
Do you think these rules are similar to the classic healthy lifestyle? Yes, the benefits of such “golden” principles for longevity have been most convincingly proven. The problem is that most people don’t follow them all the time in their daily life. While regularity is the key to success.