Having and maintaining a sharp mind is very important in life. Check out these awesome brain health tips by clicking here.
Did you know that worldwide, over 50 million people suffer from dementia? This common disease can be hereditary, but it’s also strongly related to your lifestyle prior to elderhood.
Are you living your life in a way that will prevent cognitive decline when you’re older?
If not, don’t worry. There are lots of simple ways to change your habits today to impact tomorrow. If you want to maintain your brain’s health, you need to be proactive.
Keep reading for seven brain health tips to implement now.
- Eat a Healthy Diet
To maintain a strong brain, you need to eat foods that fuel and support it. That list doesn’t include processed foods, fast food, or junk food.
Brain-healthy foods include nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and protein sources from plants and the sea.
Turns out, the Mediterranean diet has been proven to prevent cognitive decline. This is likely because the diet eaten by those living around the Mediterranean Sea comprises of the nutrients most critical to the brain.
To eat like the Greeks or Italians, focus on eating lots of fish, seafood, fruits, vegetables, and unsaturated oils.
- Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise is important for every function of your body, not in the least your cognitive function.
Exercise creates more blood vessels in the brain to grow which allows more blood flow. And, it encourages new nerve cell growth which allows the brain to be more adaptive and efficient.
What kind of exercise is good for brain health?
All sorts! It’s best to do a mix of exercises each week that work your body in different ways. You should do a mix of cardio, stretching, strength-building, high-intensity training, walking, and yoga.
- Do Mental Gymnastics
Just like you exercise your muscles to keep them in shape, your brain needs its own exercises too. These exercises are sometimes called mental gymnastics.
Mental stimulation keeps your nerve cells healthy and encourages new ones to grow in the brain.
What counts as mental gymnastics? As you learn about cognitive stimulation, you’ll see that anything that requires you to pause and ponder counts.
You could do word puzzles, math problems, arts and crafts, and commit to learning new things. Signing up for a cooking class improves your kitchen skills and protects your brain.
- Practice Self-Care
Depression and anxiety can negatively affect your brain function in the long run. Seeking treatment to these mental illnesses while you’re young is extremely beneficial.
Besides seeking medical and therapeutic help, learn how to practice self-care on your own.
Self-care could be anything from meditation to watching your favorite movie to spending an extra five minutes in the shower. Anything that is an act of love and kindness towards yourself is self-care and benefits your brain.
Many people find that seeing a counselor or therapist contributes to their self-care practice. It’s a chance to unload your thoughts and emotions onto an unbiased, professionally-trained person.
- Prevent Head Injuries
Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are far too common in sports, both recreational and professional. If you enjoy playing football with your friends or it’s part of your job, you must take the extra steps to protect your head.
When your brain suffers an injury like a concussion, it can have permanent consequences. You can experience memory loss, attention issues, and mental illnesses.
It also means that the effects of aging on the brain could be even more intense.
Always wear protective gear, like a helmet, when playing sports. Even if you aren’t an athlete, consider activities that could hurt your head. For example, not wearing a seat belt and getting into a car accident.
If you’re going to walk on ice or snow, wear boots with good traction. Avoid situations where you could slip, fall, and bump your head.
- Get Enough Sleep
Almost everyone has a problem with sleep. Some people can’t get enough or can’t fall asleep. Others sleep too much and struggle with constant fatigue.
Sleep is necessary for your brain to function and develop well.
When you have fatigue, your decision making isn’t sound and you aren’t able to think critically. Similar effects happen when you’re sleep-deprived. You might also become agitated and irritable.
Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night. Test which amount makes you feel most energized the next day. Then, create a habit of falling asleep and waking up at the same time each day.
- Embrace Relationships
There are scientifically proven benefits of socializing on the brain. When you chat with a friend over coffee or play a board game with your kids, blood flows to certain parts of your brain.
These areas of the brain depend on your socialization to get exercise and blood flow. Without it, these areas slow down. And, you begin to feel stressed, depressed, and anxious.
Elderly people with dementia are often encouraged to socialize because it helps tame the symptoms of dementia. It wards off depression which, as mentioned above, worsens cognitive functions.
So, get social. That doesn’t mean introverts need to start partying, but you do need to incorporate more interactions into your daily life.
Here are some ideas:
- Make plans to speak on the phone with a friend once a week.
- Join a book club, religious group, or art course.
- Smile when you see people on the street.
- Engage the grocery store clerk in conversation.
The more you allow yourself to enjoy interactions and relationships, the healthier your brain will be.
Interested in Learning More Brain Health Tips?
The brain is the most fascinating and elusive organ. Scientists are constantly learning new things about it. One thing we know for certain is that cognitive function is related to our lifestyles.
To keep your brain strong and healthy for many years, implement the brain health tips listed above. Then, check out the other tips in our Psychology and Health sections.