Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a magic pill that you could take to increase your brain health and prevent cognitive decline? There’s no particular food you can eat or thing you can do to avoid aging, but there are ways that you can enjoy a healthier brain. Most people don’t consider the things they eat, their overall stress, and how much water they drink, making a significant impact.
Dr. Krystal L. Culler, DBH, M.A., creator of Your Brain Health Matters, founded the company based on her years of studies. She recently wrote an article in Bustle Magazine regarding improving your brain health. She warns that you must start early to prevent issues down the road.
Your lifestyle and what you eat now will affect you later in life. Currently, an estimated five million people are living with Alzheimer’s dementia in this country, according to the Alzheimer’s Foundation. The numbers tend to increase each year, and there’s no cure. The good news is that it’s never too late to start taking care of your mental needs.
Thirteen Things to Do for A Healthier Brain
You can start today by adding small habits into your life that will enhance your cognitive reserve. What is your mental reserve? Your brain reserve is like a gas tank. The more fuel you put into it, the further you can go in your car.
When you eat the right foods and do healthy things to fuel your brain and add to the reserve, you will go further with optimal brain health. When it comes to thwarting age-related issues like dementia, your reserve means everything. Thankfully, if you start today, you can increase this reserve and have a healthier brain for all your tomorrows.
Because no one wants to live with something as awful as Alzheimer’s, being proactive is the best prevention source.
1. Give Your Brain A Break
While the old saying, if you don’t use it, you will lose it applies to many things in life, it doesn’t apply to brain health. If you want a healthier brain, then you must be willing to turn off the electronics and all the chaos and noise, and you must relish in the peace and quiet. Your brain needs time to do nothing, and if you want to keep it sharp, then you will allow some downtime.
No matter how busy you are, it would help if you made time for exercise. Your body was made to move, and if you live a sedentary lifestyle, you’re doing your body great harm. Working out has a significant impact on overall brain health, and it can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Did you know that conditions like dementia can be related to inflammation, so by removing this build-up in your system, you have a healthier brain?
Did you know that meditation can improve both your concentration levels as well as your overall memory? While it’s great for anxiety and depression, it also has been proven to increase gray matter. Why is this matter so important to your brain?
The gray matter is essential to your learning and emotional processing, and an increase in this matter also combats anxiety. Meditation should be part of your daily routine, and you can do smaller sessions of five minutes or strive to do longer meditation cycles of 20 minutes.
4. Do Brain Games & Trivia
Do you love games like crossword puzzles and sudoku? Well, the good news is that you can keep your brain shark when you engage in quizzes and other mind games. Whether you like to play games on your computer or in an old-fashioned word search book, you’re increasing your brain health.
While it’s fun to hang out and fly solo occasionally, socializing is good for your brain. Did you know that having strong social ties can give you a decreased risk for dementia? Staying connected may be just what you need to keep your mind intact.
6. Expand Your Horizons by Learning Something New
Remember the excitement when you graduated from high school, college, and beyond? There’s a sense of accomplishment, but you never quit learning. In fact, you must keep learning new things as it helps your brain to age well.
Taking on new hobbies, learning new skills, or tackling a new language can help keep your heart and brain young.
7. Drink More Water
Did you know that the brain is made up of 85 percent water, and the body is over 70 percent? So why you need to hydrate appropriately should be abundantly clear. Many people are dehydrated because they don’t drink enough water.
Your food is the fuel for your body, but water is what keeps your brain going. It gives your mind energy, and it prevents brain fog. When it comes to brain health, don’t forget to chug water all day long.
You need between 6-8 hours of rest each night, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Your body is recharging from a hectic day during your hours of sleep and processing the stressors and information received. Did you know that during the night, your brain is busy filing away data into your short- and long-term memory banks?
If you don’t get the sleep you need, your brain can’t do what it must do to keep your neurological system in check. You need a comfortable room that is cool, dark and optimized for peaceful rest. A sleep deficiency can mess with your overall mental wellbeing, so make time to slumber.
9. Consume Healthy Fats Avoid Trans and Saturated Ones
When it comes to mood stability and brain function, you need omega-3s to achieve optimal performance. What can you eat that will improve this aspect of your brain? Well, load up on chia seeds, walnuts, and avocados. Also, be sure to add some fatty fish into your diet too.
10. Eat Gut-Healthy Foods
You are what you eat, or so it’s been said before. However, what you eat can significantly impact your brain. Did you know that what you eat can cause mental illnesses to worsen, like depression and anxiety? Case in point; when people go on the Keto diet, they feel better mentally and report an increase in energy levels and a decrease in mental health issues.
Is it possible that what you’re eating is eating at you? If you consume a diet full of carbohydrates and fatty foods, it will cause major issues. A plant-based diet can help to heal the body from the toxins you ingest from eating things like fast food.
Dr. Perlmutter wrote a book entitled Grain Brain. In his writing, he speaks about how carbs can cause inflammation in the body and poor brain health. It’s been proven that there’s a direct connection between your gut and your brain, so it’s imperative to watch what you eat.
11. Keep On the Sunny Side
Did you know that staying on the sunny side of life is good for your brain? It sounds odd that being positive and happy could affect you so profoundly, but it can. When you have pleasant thoughts, then your mind is peaceful and can rest.
However, when you’re a ball of nerves and high strung, then your brain cannot get the rejuvenation it needs. Blood flow increases with stress, as does stress hormones like cortisol. However, when you’re calm and serene, your body eases the blood flow, which ultimately affects your mood.
12. Practice Gratitude
Do you take time to count your blessings every day, or do you grumble about all the things that are so wrong in your life? You must verbalize all the things that the Universe has blessed you with, as it can change your brain health. Having an attitude of gratitude is good for the soul and brain.
When you change your mindset from pessimistic to optimistic, your entire world will do a 180-degree turn. When you keep that positive mindset, you will improve your immune system, get better rest, and help give you a healthier brain.
Could something as simple as reading a book make your brain healthy? What exercise does for your physical body, reading does for your brain. You’re working out your mind when you read materials that will increase your cognitive function and enhance blood flow to vital areas.
The sooner you consider your brain health, the better off you will be. According to Dr. Culler, an expert in the field, your brain’s overall wellbeing is about 30 percent based on genetics, and it’s about 70 percent based on the lifestyle of your life. The good news is that you can take proactive measures to ensure that a healthier brain. You can ensure it will be in tip-top shape well into your golden years.