HOW TO IMPROVe BRAIN HEALTH

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How Can I Improve My Brain Health Naturally?

Smind full or mindful infographicustaining Brain Health is an important component to our overall sense of well-being. A healthy brain allows for neural development, plasticity, functionality, and recovery. But while the concept makes sense, many people are at a loss for how to improve or even maintain the overall health index of their own brain.

Well to begin with, it’s helpful to consider first, what the brain isn’t. For example, it isn’t simply the part of us that deals with cognitive functions. The brain is a complex organ that also controls thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger and every process that regulates our body. Together, the brain and spinal cord that extends from it make up the central nervous system, or CNS.

So, it’s easy to see why maintaining peak health for the brain is so vital. We need our brains to function optimally, so in turn our entire system can perform moment-to-moment to the best of its ability. Fortunately, studies continue to show the brains natural plasticity allows it to modify, change, and adapt both structure and function throughout the course of life and in response to experience.

And with a few easy lifestyle changes, it’s easy to implement a routine that ensures your brain and you, stay healthy, happy and fit for years to come.

Take your brain for a walk-labyrinth-pathYour brain has its own favorite foods!

Research shows certain foods have been shown to slow brain aging by 7.5 years, lessen the chances of developing Alzheimer's disease, and positively impact brain health. Meanwhile, foods like leafy green vegetables and rich in fish oil contain helpful in slowing signs of cognitive decline.

Challenge your brain.

Something simple like playing chess or working on a crossword puzzle for even a few minutes can bolster the mind’s ability to think creatively and in a more strategic fashion.

Take your brain for a walk

Holly Schiff, Psy.D., a licensed clinical psychologist based in New York and Connecticut reports: "Walking sends increased blood flow to the brain, which is linked to better cognitive function [and] protection against decline and improved memory,".

What Are Good Brain Exercises?

Good-Brain-Exercises-infographicIt’s no secret that our cognitive ability tends to decline with age. As the body ages, neurons in the brain typically die faster than they are replaced. The result is, as we get older, our brains just aren’t what they used to be in terms of ability or size. And guess what the primary cause of neuronal cell loss is? Inactivity.

That’s right, it turns out whomever said, “Use it or lose it”, was ahead of the curve on brain science. Luckily, it turns out our brains are incredibly robust. And as long as the brain is healthy and constantly engaged those neurons will happily and readily, reproduce. So, the fastest way to create brain health is, exercise it. Put it through its paces – because that’s what it’s made for. By flexing your brain’s muscle just a few minutes a day, can help boost your memory, concentration, and focus. Here’s 3 fun, quick ways to get a head start on staying cognitively fit no matter what your age:

Build your vocabulary

Research shows that multiple regions of the brain are activated when involved in vocabulary tasks. For starters, try these tricks to promote some healthy cognitive boosting:
  • Keep a notebook with you when you read, and jot down new words you encounter.
  • Write down one unfamiliar word, then look up the definition. Try to use that word five times the next day.


smelling-and-tasting-food-at-a-restaurantUse all your senses

A 2015 research report suggests activities that engage all five of your senses help strengthen brain function. So next time you’re looking for something to do, try doing activities that simultaneously engage all five of your senses:

  • Bake a batch of cookies
  • Visit a farmer’s market
  • Try a new restaurant while you focus on smelling, touching, tasting, seeing, and hearing all at the same time.


Learn a new skill

Learning a new skill can be fun and help keep you mentally sharp. When you learn something new, it calls upon and improves cognitive functions such as concentration, attention to detail, memory recall and problem solving.

So, it you want to reduce age related brain shrinkage, minimize cognitive decline and increase emotional fitness, all you need to do, is get up and get going. Your brain will thank you.

Read Also: Brain Health Tips - How to Keep the Brain Healthy and Resilient

What Are The 10 Ways to Improve Brain Health?

brain-health-guide-to-healthy-lifestyle-choices-infographic-flowerIt’s easy to make the argument the brain is the most important organ in the human body. It’s responsible for all our cognitive functions, it constantly coordinates actions and reactions (“Am I cold, do I need a jacket?” Or “Its cold – I need a jacket!”) and it’s the center of our Central Nervous System functions. So, in a word it’s our brain that makes us, human.

Ironically, when we think of taking care of ourselves and living a healthy lifestyle we instinctively think about how (only) our body. Now, fortunately everything you do to keep your body in tip top shape basically aids all your brain functions, as well.

But it’s not the worst idea to consider Brain Health its own priority. While that Pilates class will help your glutes, it won’t necessarily target and strengthen certain cognitive or functional features of the brain. So, while planning your next workout, here’s a short, easy to follow list of additional ways to not only help you look good, but feel great about yourself, too.

  • woman-learning-something new-playing-guitar-onlineTry a new activity. The brain learns by doing and grows by learning. Maybe play an instrument, try solving a puzzle, or even try learning a language.
  • Eat well: Healthy foods stimulate brain function. Some brain boosting choices are; fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil) and plant proteins.
  • Keep moving! Physical activity increases oxygen flow, stimulates cell growth and creates new neural patterning (You can learn anything over time!).
  • Get rest: sleep is when the brain flushes toxins, recharges and allows neurons to repair.
  • Be social. Building social connections is linked to lower blood pressure, lower risk of dementia and longer life expectancy.
  • Manage your blood sugar. Diabetes can damage small blood vessels in the brain, so consult your physician for managing your blood sugar.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol impairs memory, judgment, and disrupts sleep patterns.
  • Protect your head. Head injuries can impair cognitive function – so always wear a helmet when biking or skiing, remove potential hazards from your path and use good lighting.
  • Think positive. We are, what we think. Manage your stress by thinking better, more productive thoughts. Your nervous system will thank you.
  • Try yoga: Focused breathing increases oxygen flow, which aids brain function.

Read Also: What is the Best Brain Training? – Tips for Consumers

How Can I Strengthen My Brain?

brain-health-senior-playing-poolStudies in Neuroplasticity have revealed how versatile, adaptative and powerful the brain is. When challenged to learn, the brain creates neural pathways rewiring itself to learn new responses and behaviors. For example, London Taxi drivers who successfully memorize a labyrinth of 25,000 streets to secure their license, show increased growth in the memory center of the brain. And while it may be frustrating to hear the same song repeated while your teen learns the latest TikTok dance, take heart. All that repetition is actually signaling their cortex to remap itself, spurring on a whole new legion of neuronal and synaptic activity.

So, you want to keep your brain functioning at its best? Great! The good news is the brain is a miracle at generating the processes it needs to maintain peak cognitive functions. It can literally change its architecture to meet the need for increased learning, adapting and problem solving. But like any organ, those same adaptive processes atrophy and weaken when they go unused.
The answer to maximizing your brains brawn is simple: keep it healthy. The trick, is how?

It turns out, what’s good for your body is what’s best for your brain. So, the next time you’re wondering how to boost your brain power, here’s a little cheat sheet to jump start you (and your brain):

  • Stusenior man playing a word game while doing a neurofeedback at home sessiondies have shown that mindfulness meditation results in improved self-observational skills and increased mental flexibility.
  • People who engage in healthy behaviors such as exercise and proper nutrition are less susceptible to the cognitive declines associated with the aging process.
  • Scientists have discovered “Brainy activities” (word games, crossword puzzles) stimulate new connections between nerve cells and help the brain generate new cells
  • A University of California study shows that just 10 minutes of simple exercise (even walking or yoga) helps brain connectivity functions.
  • Manage stress. Excessive worry and stress have been shown to lower performance on cognitive tests.

Read Also: Stop Worrying: 5 Brain Training Tools to Manage Stress


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What Are the Best Brain Foods?

healthy foods-for-brain-health-tipsIt turns out our parents weren’t exactly wrong when they said, “You are what you eat”. More and more studies reveal our food preferences have a huge result on the overall health and structure of our brains. As a result, our diet has a direct impact on our short and long-term brain functions. But it’s worth noting that for all its aptitude and capacity, the brain needs a lot of fuel to do its thing.

The brain is primarily responsible for processing and transmitting information using electrical signals – and that requires a lot of energy. The average adult brain uses over 20% of the body’s overall energy – and that’s in a resting state! But none of that’s bad news. Just a reminder that in the same way you wouldn’t expect your car to drive without gas in the tank, you need to support your brain function with the right kind of fuel.

For example, Omega-3 (fatty fish oil) actually encourage the repair and building of membranes in every cell of your body – including improving and supporting the neurons in your brain cells. Research has shown including Omega 3’s resulted in an increase in blood flow to the brain, improving cognition and overall memory.

Another sure-fire way to keep your brain firing on all cylinders is to include a variety of Antioxidants in your food choices. Now, before you get stuck on how unappetizing the word Antioxidant sounds, remember that science suggests two ways of getting them into your diet (and your brain) is by eating dark chocolate and berries.

spoon-full-of-antioxidants-for-brain-healthA short list of their benefits include:

  • Improve communication between brain cells
  • Reduces inflammation throughout the body
  • Increasing plasticity helps brain cells form, boosts learning and memory
  • Delays age-related neurodegenerative diseases and cognitive decline

And if you’re looking for a super-combo of both Omega 3 oils and Antioxidants, look no further than a handful of walnuts. Or a little flaxseed sprinkled over your oatmeal, or added as a fun treat to your smoothie. So, the next time you’re hungry, remember to include a few healthy “Brain foods” in the menu – and watch your brain power, soar.

Read Also: Foods You Should Avoid To Keep Your Brain Healthy