How to Keep your Brain Healthy

How to Keep your Brain Healthy

When people talk about staying healthy and fit, they’re usually thinking about their body from the head Attribution to Kimberly Recordown. What many people don’t realize is that one of the most important parts of your body. Your brain needs just as much care as the rest of your body. The brain controls nearly everything that you do, from your thoughts to your movements, so keeping it in the best shape is vital to healthy aging.

As you get older, your brain, much like your body, will lose some of its agility, and if you don’t take care of it, it will, eventually, start deteriorating. There have been numerous scientific studies proving different ways that you can boost your brain health, keeping  you functioning at an optimal level.

Below are some ways that you can keep your brain healthy:

  1. Train Your Brain
    A recent study showed that a group of elderly people who participated in “brain training” classes are continuing to see positive effects 10 years after the initial training. By giving your brain a daily workout, you can generate new brain cells and stave off age-related cognitive decline. There are multiple apps and online companies that can provide you with free games to help boost your brain strength.
  2. Learn Something New
    By picking up a musical instrument, learning a new language or something else that is completely new to you, you challenge yourself and stimulate your brain in doing so.
  3. Stay Rested…but Not Too Rested
    Getting enough rest is vital to brain health. Get between six and eight hours a night. Don’t overdo it. Sleeping too much can cause just as much rapid decline in cognitive function as not sleeping enough.
  4. Feed Your Brain
    Adopting a balanced diet is vital to brain health. Being at an unhealthy weight can be detrimental to your brain health, and has been shown to increase the risk of dementia. Reduce how much high fat and cholesterol foods you eat, and eat protective foods, such as the ones we’ve listed below:

    • High-Antioxidant Foods: alfalfa sprouts, beets, elderberries, blackberries, bell peppers, brussel sprouts, cherries, eggplants, kale, spinach, chard, and grapes
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acid Foods: Cold water fish such as salmon or halibut, range-free eggs,  flaxseed, oatmeal, pecans and almonds
  5. Exercise
    New studies show that exercising is extremely beneficial to the brain. Even a 30-minute walk can improve circulation of blood to the brain, which boost brain growth and helps brain connectivity. Not to mention, exercising keeps your body healthy. Everything is connected, a healthy body can help keep the brain healthy, and vice versa.
  6. De-stress
    Cortisol, the hormone that is caused by stress, can repress the growth and connection between nerve cells. By participating in activities that help keep your stress levels low, such as yoga or meditation, you can decrease the amount of stress in your life, allowing for your brain health to flourish.
  7. Make Optimal Use of Your Brain
    You can train your brain doing everyday activities. Next time you brush your teeth, do so using your non-dominant hand. This will activate different parts of your brain, challenging yourself to find new ways to do a familiar activity. Another great way to stimulate the brain is by using more of your senses in everyday activities, since much of the brain is used to process sensory input. Try closing your eyes while eating, focusing on the smell and taste. Even the smallest tasks may be able to play a big role in training your brain.

There’s no guarantee that training your brain will keep you from developing a degenerative cognitive disease, since many factors such as environment and genetics factor in heavily. By keeping your brain at top shape, however, you can build up defenses against all sorts of cognitive decline and improve your overall health.

Author: Kimberly Recor, staff writer at Designing Brighter Tomorrows

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