The brain is perhaps the most astonishing part of your body. It allows you to express your emotions and thoughts in the most creative ways possible.
The brain coordinates your bodily movements – from chopping veggies in your kitchen to playing catch with your kid. It safely keeps your most precious moments in your memory, and helps you come up with solutions to your problems. But sadly, a lot of people tend to take these amazing powers for granted.
People often don’t start worrying about the health of their brain – until experiencing memory loss, and noticing cognitive changes as they grow older. However, even as a child, you can do a lot of things to maintain a healthy brain until your senior years.
Following are some of the proven tips you can follow:
Keep Your Heart Healthy
One very important strategy to adopt is to maintain a healthy heart. This way, your blood will continue to flow easily through your blood vessels and heart. Neurodegenerative diseases develop as a result of smoking, high levels of cholesterol, diabetes, and hypertension, among others that impede proper flow of blood to the brain.
When the artery walls are hardened or thickened with plaque, atherosclerosis develops. It then becomes difficult to distribute sufficient blood to the brain to nourish its cells. This may then result to ischemic stroke, once blood clot develops in one artery, preventing a part of the brain from getting the blood supply it needs. This can also lead to a temporary or permanent damage to the brain.
An active, healthy lifestyle can provide tremendous help in achieving a healthy blood circulation, and avoiding health problems. Following a healthy diet, regularly exercising, keeping a low BMI, drinking in moderation, and not smoking can go a long way in reducing the risk of contracting serious health conditions like stroke.
A regular diet that contains generous amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, nutrient-rich green leafy veggies, low amounts of saturated fat, and coupled with whole grains, can help you maintain a healthy brain throughout your lifetime.
A good diet to follow is the Mediterranean diet as it espouses eating fish, veggies, fruits, olive oil, avocado, and nuts, while limiting consumption of red meat.
A combination of the Mediterranean diet plus the heart-friendly DASH diet, the MIND diet puts more emphasis on leafy greens and berries. It was specifically developed to promote brain health. It also lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dark chocolate is also a good treat to include in your diet. The flavonoids found in cocoa beans help improve your memory and cognitive function.
Get Lots Of Quality Sleep
To make your brain work continuously, you need to let it rest for around 7 to 9 hours every night. By getting enough sleep, you allow your brain to heal and restore its health. According to research, the brain is able to clear out toxins known as beta-amyloids that trigger Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.
Following are some simple tips you can do before retiring for the night:
Strictly follow a set bedtime every night. Switch off all your electronic gadgets at least half to one hour before hitting the sack.
Dump all worries
List all lingering thoughts and write a to-do list for the next day. This may help your brain to settle down. Racing thoughts provoke anxiety. Writing your concerns on paper reminds your brain that it doesn’t need to worry about any of those things as you sleep.
Meditate for a moment
A 5 to 10-minute mindful meditation session can calm your mind, making it easier to sleep. Meditation also helps lower the levels of depression, anxiety, confusion, and fatigue. It can help if you are suffering from insomnia by making you fall and stay asleep. Meditation likewise helps with brain inflammation. With enough sleep, you are able to focus better, and avoid anxiety.
Get your body moving
A daily 30-minute walk, swimming, or taking a dance class can help you maintain a fit and slim body. It can likewise improve your cognition. A study done in Canada found that adults who are more physically active score higher on memory and problem-solving tests.
Exercise promotes better blood circulation in the brain. According to studies, regular exercise helps improve hippocampus size. The hippocampus is the brain part responsible for your memory. As you age, it naturally shrinks.
Researchers found that exercising the leg muscles can be key to enjoying the most brain benefit derived from physical activities. When the legs are used in weight exercises, the brain gets signals that prompt it to generate new healthy cells.
Paying attention to your caffeine intake can also help. In the right amounts, coffee can help you avoid neurodegenerative diseases, and improve your focus. However, excessive intake may make the effects harmful. The stimulants may likewise prevent you from easily falling asleep.
Ideally, 1 or 2 cups of coffee in the morning until 2 pm is enough. Consume caffeine-free drinks from 2 pm onwards.
Enjoy your social life
Rather than spending all your free time on your social media accounts and watching TV, why not spend it with your friends? Socializing helps blood to circulate to various parts of your brain as you listen and formulate responses.
When you connect with your friends, there’s less likelihood for you to get depressed. And depression can prevent your brain from functioning well. If you’re anxious or depressed, your brain gets bombarded with worries and what ifs that keep it from learning.
Try out new things
Throughout your lifetime, you continuously build new skills – cooking a new recipe, taking up a new sport, learning to play a new musical instrument, and even traveling to new places.
Learning something new keeps your brain healthy as it constantly creates new connections among your brain cells.
These tips have been scientifically studied, and proven effective to improve and maintain your brain health. Even as you age, you can enjoy a healthy brain that is free from memory loss, dementia, and other degenerative diseases.