Maintaining optimal brain health and function is important to everyone. Would you like to learn how to keep your brain healthy? Scientifically backed strategies and healthful living tips can point you in the right direction.
Like a muscle, the brain must be challenged and nourished in order to stay in top shape. So just how do you improve brain functionality? We’ve got answers for you.
If you want to learn more about how to strengthen your brain, here are eight great ways to keep your mind clear and sharp.
1. Engage in Brain Training
You can improve your fundamental cognitive skills with games and activities. These activities are designed to activate and stimulate the regions of the brain that are associated with basic cognitive levels.
Your fundamental cognitive skills include processes such as:
- Decision making
- Language and reading
Any weaknesses in these basic areas can profoundly impact how you process and store information. Brain training tasks, which are usually done on an electronic device or computer, can actually lead to physical changes in brain regions associated with cognition. It can increase the cell density in those areas.
2. Keep Your Mental Activity Levels High
When it comes to brain health, high levels of mental activity are critical. This begins in childhood with involvement in conversations, being read to, and solving puzzles together.
Mentally stimulating interaction is important for brain development when children are very young. But what about when you’re older?
Staying mentally active is still achievable in adulthood. Anything that stimulates your mind to think in a more intense fashion will keep your thinking more sharp. This can include:
- Conversations with someone who has a view different from your own
- Activities like Sudoku, crosswords, and other word and number games
- Using a map to find new places
- Learning a new language
These activities encourage deeper thinking as you try to make sense of the information you encounter. This mental stimulation is crucial to maintaining brain health.
3. Continue Your Education
You’re never too old to stop learning. Learning new things keeps your mind open and aware. Education comes in many forms, including:
- Coursework and technique classes
- Foreign language learning programs and courses
- Difficult books on in-depth subjects
Embracing new ideas and engaging in problem-solving activities by pursuing education may even increase your IQ over time. Learning stimulates and challenges the brain in ways that normal activities cannot match.
4. Practice Meditation
The ancient practice of meditation and mindfulness has recently sparked interest among psychologists and others in the scientific community. Evidence is growing that this ancient practice may markedly improve mental health.
There are a wide variety of meditation techniques. However, they all involve achieving mindfulness by practicing stillness, focusing on the breath, and attaining calmness.
Meditation seems to improve memory, self-control, and the ability to concentrate. Several studies have shown brain structure changes in the areas associated with intelligence in those who meditate regularly over the course of many years.
Meditation also reduces stress. Stress shortens the attention span, making learning and memory difficult. By helping to calm the mind, meditation allows us the calm that is necessary to more deeply immerse ourselves in learning.
5. Keep Your Thoughts Positive
It’s well known that if another person, especially an authority figure, expects more of someone, they will work hard to try to meet those expectations. The same concept is at work when people maintain a positive attitude. This positivity can influence brain health, as it encourages us to expand our minds and challenge ourselves.
Setting high standards for themselves helps individuals strive to meet goals. A huge part of learning and intelligence can be credited to determination. Keeping your thoughts positive and believing in your abilities is beneficial to brain health.
6. Keep Your Diet Healthy
Like any organ, the brain is affected by the types of foods we eat. This means limiting or eliminating processed foods and increasing whole food consumption.
Many foods are beneficial to your brain. These foods can improve memory and other cognitive skills.
Food that boost brain health include:
- Cruciferous and green leafy vegetables
- Dark berries for antioxidants
- Walnuts and flax seed for Omega 3 fatty acids
- Green tea
Protein is also vital for optimal brain function. Protein provides the amino acid building blocks that are used to produce the neurotransmitters that act as messengers in the brain. This can be found in a number of animal foods, in some grains, and in legumes.
In addition to diet, some supplements and substances may be useful in brain health support. You can check this site to learn more about these brain boosters.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Our brains process and consolidate what we learned during the day while we’re sleeping. It seems as though brains attempt to make sense of the input they’ve received during sleep.
Sleep deprivation negatively affects learning. Without seven to nine hours of sleep, the brain cannot perform at its cognitive peak throughout the next day.
8. Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise affects us on physical, emotional, and mental levels. Physical activity benefits your brain in several ways.
Exercise increases blood flow. This floods your brain with oxygen and glucose, giving it a major boost. It also requires your brain to coordinate complicated movements. This gradually improves your physical coordination.
Physical exercise also encourages the growth of new neurons (brain cells) and new connections between these cells. It does this by promoting growth factor production.
These growth factors are brain-derived neurotropic factor, endothelial growth factor, and insulin-like growth factors. They reduce inflammation, encourage new blood vessel growth, and slow down apoptosis (programmed cell death).
Exercise can also activate stem cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a brain structure that controls our memory.
How to Keep Your Brain Healthy
Overall brain health requires a holistic approach. Knowing how to keep your brain healthy with good habits, a good diet, and supplements is important. Improving your brain’s health is an ongoing process.
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