It produces thoughts, memories, emotions, movement, and even your mood. Unfortunately, many people don't think about their brain health until they start to experience problems with mental function.
However, maintaining a healthy brain is one of the most important aspects of promoting well-being and longevity. That's why it's important to take steps to preserve your brain health now before any issues arise. In this blog post, we discuss some of the most vital tips for preserving optimal brain integrity and how you can keep your brain functioning at its best.
Exercise Your Brain
Similar to caring for your physical body, one of the most significant things you can do to maintain your brain health is to keep it active. This includes engaging in games and activities that are intellectually challenging for your mind and aim to keep your brain in gear. Doing this will help you to build up and maintain your brain tissues. Some other things you can do to exercise your mind include puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, board games, and other mentally stimulating activities that challenge your mind and promote thinking and problem-solving skills.
To keep your brain active, you can also challenge yourself by trying out different things in new and innovative ways. This includes finding unique ways to complete routine tasks, which can be as simple as brushing your teeth with your left hand instead of your right or taking an alternate route to the grocery store. Testing out new foods is another great way to open your brain up to different exciting experiences.
If you’re looking for a more complex activity to exercise your brain, try learning how to play a new instrument or studying an additional language. Research suggests that new experiences help to retain brain cells and connections and can even lead to the production of new brain cells.
Stay Physically Active
Another great way to keep your brain healthy is by exercising your body. Staying physically active helps to improve blood flow and oxygenation to the brain, which can help keep it functioning at its best. Consistent physical activity can also improve memory functions and boost your mood while reducing some of the effects of anxiety or depression. No matter your age or physical fitness level, everyone can benefit from implementing physical activity into their daily lives. Research suggests that a decline in mental function is about two times more common in adults who live a less active lifestyle compared to those who exercise 30 minutes daily, five days a week or more.
Exercising doesn’t have to be as dreadful as you might think. In fact, some of the best ways to stay active are also the most fun! Turning on some music and dancing around is a fantastic way to increase your physical activity, and it’s so fun that it doesn’t even feel like exercising. You can also implement small changes into your daily routine that promote physical activity, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking in the back of the parking lot and walking to the store. Taking your dog for a daily walk is one of the best ways to increase physical activity in your life, and it’s one that your furry companion will thank you for!
If you still aren’t feeling convinced to increase your physical activity, challenge yourself to stand up and stretch out your body every few hours. This will increase your circulation and blood flow which enhances your mental and physical wellness.
Eat Healthy Foods
In addition to increasing physical and mental activity, another important factor in maintaining optimal brain health is eating a healthy diet. The foods that you consume can have a huge impact on your brain health. Eating nutritious foods is an essential part of maintaining memory, mood, and your ability to stay focused. Conversely, eating too much sugar and processed foods can contribute to inflammation in blood vessels and other body tissues, restricting your blood circulation and thus, your brain health.
Foods that are high in antioxidants such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nuts can help to slow down the absorption of toxins like excess sugar from your bloodstream and protect your brain against damage. This is because, when they are consumed regularly, antioxidants have anti-inflammatory properties that can increase circulation, nutrient absorption, and overall health and wellbeing.
Eating foods that are rich in omega-three fatty acids can also be beneficial for brain health in addition to reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. They have been shown to promote neurological connections within your brain including improvements in executive function and memory retention. These vital nutrients can be found in foods like salmon, scallops, shrimp, walnuts, and all sorts of seeds. Even subtle, consistent increases in omega-three fatty acids in your diet can begin to optimize your brain health in big ways.
Take Your Vitamins
Although consistently eating nutrient-rich foods can help to optimize your brain health, chances are you won’t be able to get all of the vitamins and nutrients that your brain craves through diet alone. That’s where vitamins come in! Some of the best vitamins for brain health and enhancing mental function are Omega-three fatty acids such as DHA and EPA, antioxidants such as Fisetin, and vitamin D.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that works with omega-three fatty acids to support the overall function and structure of your brain. It also supports your immune system, which is necessary for brain health. This nutrient is not present in many foods, so that’s why it is important to take a supplement that is rich in Vitamin D.
A major part of maintaining optimal brain health is keeping a constructive, well-rounded outlook on life. The connections that your brain makes within itself will be changing and growing throughout your lifetime. Practicing mindfulness can help you strengthen these connections as well as enhance your ability to manage stress, regulate your emotions, and maintain your focus.
Meditation is an amazing way to practice mindfulness and improve mental function. But you don’t have to go full Zen in order to reap the benefits of this practice. Start by paying attention to your thoughts throughout your day. Are they pleasant or unpleasant, helpful or hurtful?
No matter what sorts of thoughts cross your mind, try not to judge yourself for them. Instead, embrace them and examine the emotions that they invoke. Most importantly, after you have carefully attended to your unpleasant thoughts, be willing to let them go and turn towards positivity. When you begin to take notice of how your thoughts affect your mood and your emotions, you will inevitably see how these feelings have the ability to affect your life as well.
Although you might feel as though multitasking allows you to get more tasks done, that is a common misconception. In reality, trying to take on too many things at once can confuse your brain and increase stress levels. Multitasking often results in overlooking simple errors and mistakes that will cost you more time than it would have if you had maintained your focus on the project the first time around.
It’s not always easy to focus your attention on one task at a time, but with practice, you will find that taking your time with things and eliminating multitasking will decrease the number of mistakes you make and improve productivity and your ability to concentrate.
Get Enough Sleep
Finally, one of the most important factors in preserving brain health is to make sure that you are getting an adequate amount of sleep. If you are not getting enough sleep, it can have a negative impact on brain health and can lead to memory loss, impaired thought processes, and affect mood regulation. When you're well-rested, your brain has time to rejuvenate and repair itself as well as process memories and helps you regulate your mood.
Sleep directly impacts brain functions such as how neurons communicate with each other. While you sleep, your brain and body remain in active communication with one another, repairing and rejuvenating each other and removing toxins that build up throughout the day. In fact, quality sleep impacts almost every part of your brain, including the hypothalamus, thalamus, brain stem, and amygdala. Everyone needs sleep to function. It is an essential part of optimizing brain health!
So, there you have it! These are some of the best tips for optimizing brain health and supporting mental function for adults. Improving and maintaining your brain’s health is one of the biggest keys to living a long, healthy, and happy life.
In addition to taking vitamins and supplements, some things that you can do to keep your brain sharp and polished are engaging in mental challenges, eating a healthy and nutritious diet, staying physically active, practicing mindfulness, and making sure that you are getting enough sleep. If you maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow these tips, you'll be well on your way to preserving optimal brain health!