The brain is the mastermind behind everything that we do. It is the one responsible for us to think, speak, and move around. While we often focus our energy on making our bodies better, we often forget about strengthening our brains.
With age, our cognitive function starts declining. Thus, the importance of improving our brain health each day. You can do many things to keep your brain sharp, from the food you eat to the type of exercise that you do.
In this article, we will explore the top 10 things that you can do to keep your brain sharp and healthy. It is never too late to start strengthening the most crucial organ in your body.
1. Exercise Regularly
There is a strong relationship between exercise and the mind. Studies have shown that people who often exercise, have a stronger working memory and cognitive flexibility (ability to adapt our behavior to our environment).
The type of exercise can significantly impact how your brain can get stronger. One study showed that doing yoga can significantly increase your memory skills. For other people, swimming or weight training can have a great impact when it comes to muscle memory and repetition.
For some, exercising early in the morning can even help increase energy and concentration levels during the day.
2. Eat Your Omega-3
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial for brain function and early development. EPA and DHA (two types of omega-3 fatty acids) have been correlated to improving brain development in the mother’s womb. Therefore pregnant women are often encouraged to supplement with omega-3 fatty acids.
Studies have shown that people who supplement with omega-3 fatty acids can significantly improve their memory, help regulate mood, and have anti-inflammatory properties.
If you are trying to increase your omega-3 intake during the day, you might want to add chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, salmon, tuna, and walnuts. If you cannot add at least two sources of omega-3 daily, I would recommend using a supplement.
3. Boost On Antioxidants
Antioxidants help reduce the damage done by free radicals. An excess of free radicals (oxidative stress) could lead to premature aging in the brain. Having a good supply of antioxidants can help reduce that damage, promoting good brain health.
While several foods are high in antioxidants like chocolate, raspberries, oranges, and leafy greens. One of the highest foods with antioxidant capacity is blueberries. Studies have shown that people who consume blueberries regularly improve their memory and attention to required tasks.
4. Have A Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep plays a fundamental role when it comes to brain health. When you sleep, your body relaxes and recovers. You can process new information you received throughout the day during your sleep, making it easier to memorize.
A lack of sleep can significantly impact the way your brain stores and remembers key information that happened during the day. Thus, having 7-8 hours of continuous and good sleep is key for optimal brain health. Make sure to have a night routine that makes it easier for you to go to bed, like reading, aromatherapy, or having a cup of tea.
5. Manage Your Stress
Chronic stress can have a significant impact on your brain. Studies have shown that constant stress can decrease the number of brain cells, reduce the size of the brain, and put you at risk of developing brain conditions like Alzheimer’s.
There are several ways that you can reduce stress in your life. You can opt for art therapy, do some exercise, or meditate. It’s been shown that meditation can increase awareness, decision-making, and concentration.
If you are not used to meditating, you might want to start small with only a couple of minutes every day and slowly increase the duration.
6. Mental Stimulation
In the same way that we exercise to keep our muscles strong, we need to exercise our brain to keep it healthy. Brain activities stimulate new connections in the brain, which helps promote good brain health.
There are several activities that you can do. For example, reading, word puzzles, math problems, painting, or other crafts can help develop strong connections in your brain.
7. Learn Something New
Learning a new skill can improve your memory function, making it stronger. It can improve your memory, but it can also improve your concentration, problem-solving, and attention to detail.
You can choose to learn anything that you like. It can be as small as learning how to do an origami airplane to something more complex like a language. The goal is to keep your brain constantly active, trying to figure out new things.
8. Manage Your Chronic Diseases
High blood pressure and high sugar levels can significantly impact your brain health. Studies have shown that uncontrolled sugar levels could lead to dementia. Thus, managing or preventing them from getting high is crucial for brain health.
If you want to reduce your high blood pressure, it is essential to have low sodium consumption. Ensure that you are cooking with the least amount of salt, and only add it at the end of the recipe. Also, if you buy processed foods, they should have less than 140 mg of sodium per serving size to be classified as low sodium.
To manage your sugar levels, make sure that you consume less than 10% of your calories from sugar. This means that for men is around 25 g (5 teaspoons), and for women, 20 g (4 teaspoons) of sugar per day. Avoid high sugary and processed foods.
9. Digital Detox
Research has shown that constant use of devices can significantly impact mental health problems. Additionally, reducing the time you see blue lights can substantially impact the quality of sleep and your brain health. It can also help make you feel calmer and reduce stress.
There are several ways of doing it. You can create tech-free zones or start slowly by reducing screen usage 30-60 minutes before bedtime.
10. Consider Adding a Supplement
Finally, suppose you have difficulty adding nutritious foods throughout the day. If the quality of the products is not the best, you can add supplements that are high in antioxidants or high in omega-3 fatty acids that can help you give you that brain health boost you are looking for.