Mental health and COVID-19: Are you planning to live longer and looking forward to several years of active life “in spite of all these tense and trivial circumstances revolving around pandemic, lockdowns, financial turmoil, infections, vaccinations, and others – then you should focus on your mind.
You might have done many things to keep your heart, liver, and kidneys condition in perfect order – but the question is having you done enough to keep your mind healthy and immunity in check – if not, then, according to several research studies, in the long run, you would suffer from compromised immunity, susceptibility to diseases, dementia, memory loss, and Alzheimer’s disease. However, there is a possibility to keep yourself healthy and avoid such problems if you take care of your mind and body. Here are the healthy lifestyle changes and ways in which you can keep your mind focussed, energetic, and fit, not only in the young age but also in your golden years as well.
Physical activity is a boon for your mind. It helps keep your heart, lungs and blood vessels healthy – and thus keeps your brain cells healthy as well. Healthy lungs, heart and circulatory system are very important because your brain consumes nearly 25% of the energy you consume. In addition, your muscular strength is also essential as it makes you less likely to develop memory related and other health issues associated with brain health. Exercise also improves blood circulation; releases feel good endorphins and boosts your immunity.
Keep a Check on BP
Controlling high blood pressure or hypertension within limits is very important to ensure brain health. High blood pressure increases the risk of memory loss and age-related cognitive impairment. Small blood vessels and blood capillaries are damaged due to high blood pressure. According to a research study conducted at Wayne State University in Detroit, high blood pressure slows down memory and prompts cognitive problems.
Eat Lots of Fruits and Vegetables
Colourful fruits and vegetables are good sources of antioxidants – they are rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin A. In addition, beans, fruits, green leafy vegetables, lentils, whole wheat cereals are good sources of B vitamins; nuts, seeds, whole grains are good sources of magnesium; oranges, citrus fruits, grapefruit and strawberries are good sources of vitamin C; all these vitamins and mineral are good for your brain as they keep brain fit against oxidative stress (brain is a fatty tissue and thus contains lipids and fats and it is prone to oxidative stress). These vitamins also improve your immunity against all types of stubborn viral, fungal and bacterial infections – and more importantly against COVID-19 infection.
Maintain proper Vitamin D levels
Several research studies have shown a link between your mental state and vitamin D levels. Adequate levels of vitamin D boost your mental health and reduces the risk of depression and cognitive decline. Optimum vitamin D levels also provides augmented immunity against all types of infections including COVID-19 and other microbes (balck fungus, yellow and white fungus) and secondary bacterial infections as well.
Keep Cholesterol in Check
High levels of cholesterol are capable of damaging brain cells even before causing any damage to heart. Several studies have indicated that high levels of cholesterol cause damage to brain cells and thus prompts memory decline. However, maintaining lower levels of cholesterol through proper diet, physical activity and medication help protect against age-related memory loss and dementia.
Take Depression Seriously
Mental health and COVID-19: Depression, in addition to causing short-term health issues, may change the brain by making it prone to memory-related and cognitive problems in the long run. Frequent worry, anxiety may lead to depression – which will eventually lower your immunity.
Furthermore, a long-time history of major depression makes an individual prone to the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Chronic depression causes inflammation in the brain, which in turn increases the risk of age-related dementia. Owing to the long-term risks associated with depression, one should take depression quite seriously and act diligently to keep depression in its tracks. Be always positive in life and deal with every tough situation – “like the one we are passing through” – quite positively and boldly.
Bottom line: Stay Connected with Family and Friends
Living isolated and alone can cause many health issues [(especially during these lockdowns and mandatory isolation (Quarantine)] including memory loss, dementia and depression. A research study at the University of London revealed that people living alone were found to have memory problems, poor vision, and poor health issues due to compromised immunity and immune system. Therefore, if you are living socially isolated then you are at an increased risk of mental decline and memory loss.
In a nutshell, mental health and COVID-19 both go hand in hand. A strong mind makes you mentally and physically stronger