How to Care for Your Brain and Stay Sharp
Having a healthy brain goes beyond better productivity. A healthy, sharp brain is vital for a better quality of life. If you’re working on improving your brain health, you can start by incorporating certain habits that can help improve your focus and memory.
In addition, making these habits a part of your lifestyle can also help keep your body in shape and improve your mood and overall well-being. It’s a win-win for your mind and your body.
Eat to nourish
Eating a well-balanced diet is essential to cultivating a sharper brain. If you’re looking for ways to improve your diet, you might want to check the Mediterranean diet, which health care professionals often recommend to promote brain health and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
This brain-healthy diet includes lots of vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, extra virgin olive oil, beans, and legumes. It limits sugar, refined carbohydrates, processed meats, and other highly processed foods. The overall focus is on whole foods.
Incorporate brain-healthy supplements
Supplements can provide vitamins and minerals that may be lacking in your diet. Some brain-healthy supplements you can incorporate include:
Studies have shown the role omega-3 plays in supporting memory and other cognitive functions. It also helps lower inflammation. You can get this vitamin in supplement form or from salmon and trout.
A vitamin D deficiency has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. You can get this vitamin in supplement form (make sure to take it with food) or from the sun. Your skin makes this vitamin naturally upon 10 to 30 minutes of midday sun exposure. Just don’t forget to wear your sunscreen.
Studies have found a link between vitamin B12 and improved mood and memory, especially in older adults. You can get this vitamin in supplement form or from animal products, particularly dairy and meat.
When you don’t get enough sleep, it can be difficult to think clearly, focus, and even control your emotions. A 2019 study has found that sleep has a critical relationship with memory, including long-term learning retention. The CDC recommends that adults get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
However, quantity doesn’t automatically mean better when it comes to sleep. The quality of sleep is just as important.
Regular exercise does not only keep you physically fit, but it also keeps you mentally in shape. Research from 2016 found that consistent fitness activity is linked to an increase in the size of the hippocampus, a part of the brain that plays a crucial role in memory. Regular exercise is also vital to preventing or reducing depression and anxiety.
It’s best to be consistent with exercise. The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise each week. Break this up into about 30 minutes of activity per day for five days. Strengthening exercises twice per week is also ideal.
Use your mental muscles
You can do various activities to develop your mental sharpness, including socializing, playing a musical instrument, reading, learning a new language, and listening to your favorite music. So, don’t feel guilty about spending some downtime. These leisurely activities are essentially good for your health.
The bottom line
Taking care of your mind helps you take better care of your body. So, doing the tips above ensures that your brain stays sharp and improves your physical health. The important thing is to remain consistent and make these activities a part of your lifestyle to reap the benefits.