A Life with a Purpose

  • A Meaningful Life Protects Your Brain…

  • And your Health

A new study finds that having a higher purpose in life could protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

A sense of higher purpose in life was found to be the most important psychosocial factor associated not only with less cognitive impairment and better psychological well-being, but also in determining mental health outcomes after serious trauma with better general recovering capacity and reduced risk of death.

“Do you think the best days of your life are behind you, or that your day-to-day activities have little or no meaning?” You could be at higher risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry Elderly people with a strong sense of purpose in life are almost 2½ times less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, report researchers.
The new findings add to previous and emerging data suggesting that psychological and experiential factors are associated with cognitive impairment.
Life is the most important possession a human being has and quality of life depends on the individual’s behaviour and the sense of proper control and balance of himself within the environment. Both physical and psychological equilibrium are dependent on each other.

Brain Fitness
When you think about “fitness”, you probably think about marathons and muscles, but do you ever consider “brain fitness”?
You should as the brain plays a critical role in every area of life, from learning, working and playing, to personality, aptitude and memory and also rules the functioning of the whole body, systems and organs.
While the brain is the body’s most important organ, it is also the most mysterious. There is indeed a lot that science can not yet explain, including why some people can still recall the name of their first-grade teacher at age 100, while others develop the early signs of Alzheimer’s in their 60s.
Emerging research indicates that with a few relatively simple lifestyle choices, brain health can be maximized while minimizing the risks of age-related memory loss and brain diseases like Alzheimer’s.

How can you do it?

Feed Your Brain Properly: Are you already watching your weight and sticking to a heart-healthy diet that is low in bad fats and cholesterol? Good, you are already halfway there! A diet low in saturated fats and cholesterol, rich in good fats like polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acids and packed with protective foods may protect brain cells and promote brain health.
Stay Physically Active and Healthy: Overall physical health is closely linked to brain health, making a healthy body the key to a healthy brain. Exercise significantly improves health in many ways, from helping to maintain a healthy weight and cholesterol levels in check, to maintaining good blood flow to the body and brain and encouraging the performance of the brain cells and connections. The brain cells thrive on a good, steady blood supply, so blood pressure control is most important.
Stay Mentally Active: The saying “use it or lose it” is especially true when it comes to the brain. Keeping the brain active, as you age, helps the functioning of the brain cells and the making of new connections in the brain. Intellectual curiosity, pursuit of education, reading, learning new activities and skills and even games, are all fun and easy ways to exercise the mind.
Stay Socially Engaged: Friends and family are a key to happiness and they just might be the key to brain health as well. Research shows that regular social interaction has a significant effect on long-term brain health and function. Getting the emotional and social support you need to help you manage stress and feel happy, as well as feeling a part of something like the workplace, clubs, a network of friends, a religious congregation, not only makes life meaningful and fun but it stimulates and protects the brain.

Bellow is a Brain Diet list: 
Keep working as long as you can and want to.
See your doctor regularly.
Be physically active most days of the week for at least 30 minutes.
Get approximately seven to eight hours of sleep each day.
Don’t smoke!
Maintain a healthy weight and minimize your risk for diabetes, high cholesterol and hypertension.
Find a brain-stimulating activity you like – reading, crosswords, learning a new language, whatever – and engage in it regularly.
Commit to learning something new every month – attend lectures, enroll in continuing education classes or join a hobby group.
Try memory games and exercises.
Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you.
Make friends and family a priority and spend time with them regularly.

“Purpose in life is something we can actually modify in old age by giving older adults specific strategies they can use to find meaning in activities, achieve purposes, and goals.”
What about everybody else? We all need a life with a purpose, at any age.

Best health wishes,
Maria Alice 

Consultant in General and Family Medicine

General Manager/Medical Director – Luzdoc International Medical Service

Medical Director – Grupo Hospital Particular do Algarve

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