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Oct 04

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50 Tips for Brain Health

This is part 1 in a 2 part series which shares ideas and tips for brain health. These tips include relaxation, exercise, nutrition and cognitive activities!While everyone focuses on other aspects of health, they often forget just how vital brain health is. It’s important to exercise and eat right in order to keep the body healthy, but being in good health doesn’t just mean physically, it includes mental and cognitive health. You don’t necessarily need to make major changes in your lifestyle, if you’re already eating well and exercising regularly, you’re on the right path.

Your brain loses elasticity as you age, which makes it more difficult for the brain to make the required connections. This often results in difficulty focusing, recalling memories, and an inability to focus and pay attention.

You can prevent this from happening, by keeping your brain healthy. A healthy brain will retain its elasticity, allowing you to continue learning and retaining memories well into your senior years, that is, provided you treat it right.

Your mental health is just as vital to your overall health and wellbeing as your physical health is. Just because your school (or work) days are over, doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to learn.

Your brain will change and shift throughout your life, and you can control how change occurs. There are plenty of ways to maintain your brain’s ultimate health and unlock your potential. Today is part one in our 2-part series where I will share 25 tips for brain health!

 

25 Tips for Brain Health

1. Meditation

It is incredibly difficult to think when you have a head full of worry and concern. Meditation is an excellent way to promote brain health, as it reduces anxiety levels. It has also been shown to improve decision-making skills, memory, and attention span. Additionally, it has physical health benefits. According to UCLA, practitioners of meditation have greater cognitive abilities, due to the increase in the gyri formation, which are folds that increase the brain’s surface area.

2. Feed Your Brain

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fish is the brain’s ultimate food, all because of omega-3 fatty acids. They contain anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, reducing the risk of stroke and improving brain function. It can also reduce the risk of depression, bipolar disorder, and dementia.

3. N Backs

Working memory tasks (or n backs) are an assessment tool that is used to evaluate short-term memory. The n back is the cornerstone of exercises for the brain, and a great method for improving fluid intelligence. The tasks demand you to juggle a variety of tasks mentally and simultaneously. Cognitive Neuroscience Society published the results of experiments from the University of Maryland’s Susanne Jaeggi. Jaeggi found that those who engaged in n backs for 20 minutes a day for a month got better at the tasks, and improved their performance on other tasks not involved in the training. There are plenty of n back apps available for both Apple and Android phones.

4. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy greens contain vitamins and minerals that prevent dementia. Just like spices, leafy greens are rich in polyphenols, which protect the brain from disease and injury. According to the RMIT University in Australia, polyphenols can prevent strokes, and delay the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

5. Eat Nuts

If squirrels had the ability to talk, they would probably brag about how amazing nuts are for brain power. Nuts (and seeds) are chockfull of zinc, which, according to the University of Lancashire, is effective in improving cognitive function. Nuts also contain vitamin E, which is an antioxidant that boosts cognitive function.

6. Vitamin B12 and Folic Acid

The B complex vitamins play an important role in overall health and wellbeing. B12 protects the brain from injury and disease, while folic acid regulates development and neurotransmitter activity.

7. Complex Carbohydrates

A glucose deficiency can affect your ability to think clearly and concentrate, your brain needs it. Increasing your intake of complex carbs will increase alertness. Don’t turn to energy drinks, instead choose oatmeal, brown rice, and whole-wheat bread, these provide you with energy all day long.

8. Coffee

Caffeine is a natural stimulant, and in coffee, you have the ability to activate the area of the brain, which improves cognitive functioning. Better yet, it’s packed with antioxidants, which promote neuron recovery from stress and injury. Research from Johns Hopkins University suggests that just an 8-ounce cup of Joe is sufficient to boost short-term memory and improve attention.

9. Apples

You’ve heard that an apple a day is a great way to keep the doctor at bay? Well, it’s also an excellent way to stave off memory loss. Apple skins contain quercetin, which according to one study (The neuroprotective potential of flavonoids: a multiplicity of effects; Vaouzour, et al) is a chemical that provides neuroprotective properties to battle cell damage. You can also find quercetin in parsley, red wine (yes), citrus fruits, tea, sage, and onions.

10. Navigation

Studies from the University College London show that London taxi drivers have a larger hippocampus than others do (in the case of this study, the other group studied was bus drivers), because their brains expanded to make space for their additional knowledge. Taxi drivers are focused to use their brains to navigate routes, while bus drivers travel a specific route. So, forget GPS, use your brain to navigate the next time you’re going somewhere new.

11. Grape Juice

Like chocolate, polyphenols are found in grape juice. According to WorldHealth.net, grape juice is an effective way to maintain short-term memory. We know that polyphenols enhance memory, learning abilities, and the communication of neurons. The great news is that it can even help those in their later years.

12. Chewing Gum

According to Cardiff University’s School of Psychology (Effects of chewing gum on cognitive function, mood, and physiology in stressed and non-stressed volunteers), chewing gum is an excellent way to improve mood, attention, and cognitive function. In addition to its ability to improve cognitive abilities, it’s also a fantastic way to relieve stress.

13. Eggs & Chicken  

It really doesn’t matter which one of these came first, what does matter is that they are an excellent source of choline, which is the antecedent molecule of acetylcholine. The latter improves cognitive performance, memory, and regulates body functions. According to Boston University, (The Role of Acetylcholine in Learning and Memory, Michael E. Hasselmo) in addition to its role in cognitive function, acetylcholine can prevent depression and anxiety.

14. Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate contains flavanols, which provide a short burst of a boost in cognitive abilities. Additionally, cocoa contains polyphenols, which can prevent the impairment of cognitive function found in the aging. Consuming 25 grams of sugar can provide a much-needed boost in memory and alertness. Glucose is essential for the brain, so the next time you feel your sweet tooth taking over, turn to dark chocolate.

15. Milk

A glass of milk every day is an excellent way to improve thinking skills and boost memory. A study (Relation between dairy food intake and cognitive function: The Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study; Crichton, et al) from the University of Maine and University of South Australia, Adelaide found that adults who drink milk five or six times every week have a better memory than non-milk drinkers.

16. Cardio

Exercise isn’t just a way to keep your body healthy, it keeps your brain in top form, too. According to The National Institutes of Health (Exercise and the brain: something to chew on), evidence shows cardiovascular exercise has deep benefits to the brain. Not only does it delay cognitive breakdown, but it enhances memory and learning.

17. Bulk Up

Bulking up isn’t just a way to tone and improve your muscles, it also increases mental capacity. Resistance exercise improves cognitive function and spatial memory.

18. Dance

While there isn’t any evidence that dancing can reduce the risk of dementia, those who enjoy dancing regularly experience fewer symptoms. Besides, it’s fun, it’s exercise, and it’s an excellent way to improve your coordination.

19. Golf

Golf is a great way to develop coordination, as well as spatial differentiation. Golf encourages the formation of nerve cells and neuroimaging shows that golfers have structural changes in the white and gray area of the brain.

20. Music & Exercise

Music gets you motivated and pumped to exercise, but beyond that, it kindles cognitive function as you work out. A study (Short-term effects of exercise and music on cognitive performance among participants in a cardiac rehabilitation program; Emery, et al) from Ohio State University found that combining exercise and music improved the verbal fluency of heart patients.

21. Lawn Mower  

Not only is mowing the lawn a great way to stay active, but it releases chemicals to boost memory and relieve the symptoms of stress.

22. Doodling

Just because you’re doodling, doesn’t mean you’re not listening. Doodling stimulates the brain, rather than being a mindless activity. Once upon a time, journalists were stunned to discover that Tony Blair left papers covered in doodles after participating in a panel with Bono, Bill Gates, and Bill Clinton.

23. Wandering Mind

If your mind wants to drift, don’t worry, because it’s not a bad thing. You should allow your mind to drift (unless of course you’re driving, or… operating), because it is in those moments that it increases your ability to solve problems and boosts creativity.

24. Eat Less

Reducing your calorie intake won’t just decrease your weight, it will also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.

25. Laugh

Laughter is the best medicine, and it’s a great way to cope with the symptoms of depression and anxiety. A big laugh increases oxygen to the brain and also allows people to think more creatively as they laugh problems off. A sunny temperament improves creativity and cognitive performance.

 

There you have it, 25 tips for brain health! Be sure to join us next week when I share another 25 tips for brain health for a grand total of 50! 

Permanent link to this article: https://inspiringwordsfromtheheart.com/25-tips-for-brain-health/

3 comments

  1. 1
    Miranda Sherman

    Wow! What an amazing list! I will have to remember this, I do try to laugh as often as possible!

  2. 2
    Amber Ludwig

    When I was a kid I used to explain to my Mom that I LOVED to dream and loved to daydream!! She thought I was crazy but it was an amazing stress reliever!! It really grounded me and helped me think clearer!! Im super happy to see mind wandering on your list!

    1. 2.1
      Colleen

      I don’t dream much that I remember…but my husband is a lucid dreamer and he flys in them too!

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