We often talk about keeping our bodies healthy, active, and strong, but what about our brains? Exciting research from advanced radiology techniques provides fascinating brain insights and offers a glimpse into the power of the human brain. As such a vital organ, it’s important to learn ways to take care of our minds! The following tips can help you keep your brain healthy and strong.
Fuel Your Brain
If you’re wondering how to keep your brain healthy and strong, the first thing to consider is your diet. Healthy foods keep your brain active and fit. Make sure you’re eating plenty of these brain power foods.
- Healthy fats. This includes olive oil, salmon or ocean trout, and avocado.
- DHA (an omega-3 fatty acid). This is an important building block of the brain for its health and development. DHA can be found in fatty fish and fortified foods such as milk, eggs, yogurt, juice, and supplements. To support brain health, aim for 200 mg of DHA per day.
- This powerful antioxidant maintains healthy eyes and supports brain health as we age. Peas and corn are considered lutein super foods. Lutein is also found in egg yolks and dark leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, and collards. In addition, lutein can be bought as a supplement.
- Vitamin E. You can find vitamin E in eggs, milk, butter, nuts, whole grains, and dark leafy greens such as spinach. Vitamin E can also be taken as a supplement.
- Eat your veggies! Aim for nine servings a day of fresh fruits and vegetables (washed with the skin on). Eat colorful fruits and veggies including blueberries, tomatoes, cranberries, and grapes. Each of these contain polyphenols which decrease inflammation – an enemy of brain health.
Exercise Your Brain Muscle
Your brain has incredible capabilities to learn and retain new information throughout life. The only problem is, if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it!
Just like any other muscle, your brain is an organ that needs to be exercised and stimulated. Pursing further education and intellectual curiosities or playing games, reading, and learning new activities all play a role in exercising your mind.
Engage in these pursuits regularly and commit to learning a new word or a new fact each day. Each year, give yourself a goal to learn a new skill or subject. As each year passes, your brain will thank you!
Stress over long periods of time can negatively affect your brain health. During stressful seasons, carve out time to meditate and give yourself a break.
Meditation reduces inflammation and stress by soothing areas of the brain that control immune response and inflammation in the body.
Did you know smiling more can actually improve your brain health? When you smile, your body releases hormones that lower blood pressure, boost your immune function, and protect you against depression, anxiety, and stress.
In addition, new brain cells form which encourage changes in areas associated with learning and memory. This makes your brain more resilient and flexible to cope with injuries or neurodegenerative disease like Alzheimer’s.
The key to smiling more? Engage socially with family and friends often!
Regular social activity creates new brain cells and strengthens the brain to repair itself. Studies have found that men and women who had more social interaction experience less memory loss.
Do it for your brain – get out there and socialize, volunteer, or join a new club!
The more you care for your brain now, the healthier and stronger you’ll be as you age. Now it’s your turn. What activities do you enjoy doing to exercise your brain?
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