The most wonderful component of your body is your brain. It thinks up new methods to communicate your ideas and feelings, coordinates movements ranging from cutting onions to running an obstacle course, saves your most cherished childhood memories, and solves the Sunday crossword puzzle. However, it’s all too easy to take such abilities for granted.
“Many individuals don’t start thinking about their brain health until they’re in their 60s or 70s,” says Elise Caccappolo, PhD, an associate professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. “However, there are numerous things you can do to maintain your brain as healthy as possible throughout your life, starting as early as childhood. We already know that intellectual activities, social contact, and, perhaps most significantly, physical activity are all beneficial to maintaining mental sharpness.”
Working with your doctor to remain on top of your cardiovascular health is the most essential technique, she adds. It’s important for blood to flow freely through your heart and blood vessels. “High blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, and diabetes all raise the risk of neurodegenerative disorders by obstructing blood flow to the brain,” she continues.
It’s difficult to send enough blood to the brain and nourish its cells when artery walls become thick with plaque or “hardened,” a condition known as atherosclerosis. This can also result in an ischemic stroke, which occurs when a blood clot develops in an artery, shutting off blood flow to a portion of the brain. This can result in temporary or even permanent harm to the brain.
Maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle will help maintain your blood circulating and prevent such issues. A Swedish research of almost 30,000 women discovered that those who ate a balanced diet, exercised frequently, didn’t smoke, drank only moderately, and kept their body mass index (BMI) below 25 had a much reduced risk of stroke than those who didn’t fulfil any of the five criteria.
Plenty of Quality Sleep
Shutting down your brain for 7-9 hours each night is an important part of keeping it working. Romie Mushtaq, MD, a neurologist and integrative medicine specialist, says, “Sleep is the most essential thing you can do to reset the brain, enable it to recover, and restore mental wellness.”
According to new study, the brain clears away poisons called beta-amyloids that might cause Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia when sleeping.
Before you go to bed, Mushtaq recommends doing a few basic things.
Detox from the digital world. Make it a point to go to bed at the same time every night, and turn off all devices and screens at least 30-60 minutes before you go to bed.
Get rid of your concerns. To help your mind relax, jot down any remaining anxieties and a brief to-do list for tomorrow. “Our minds are constantly racing, causing worry,” she adds. “However, writing it down on paper informs your brain that it doesn’t have to worry about those things while you sleep.”
Take a few moments to meditate. Meditation has been found to reduce anxiety, depression, tiredness, and confusion. 5-10 minutes of mindful meditation will not only relax your brain and make it easier to sleep, but it will also reduce anxiety, depression, fatigue, and confusion. “Insomniacs can benefit from meditation since it can help them fall and remain asleep. It also aids in the reduction of brain inflammation “she explains. “Most individuals report that they can focus better, sleep better, and are less nervous.”
Move Your Body
Walking for 30 minutes a day, attending to a dancing class, or swimming can help you stay thin and healthy while also improving your cognitive health. A major Canadian study revealed that the more physically active individuals were, the greater their memory and problem-solving scores were.
Exercise increases the flow of blood to the brain. It has also been proven in tests to enhance the size of the hippocampus, the memory-related region of the brain, which typically decreases with age.
According to new study out of Italy, strengthening your leg muscles may be the key to getting the most out of physical activity for your brain. The researchers discovered that when you do weight-bearing exercise with your legs, the brain receives messages that encourage it to produce healthy new cells.
A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, low in saturated fat, and rich in minerals found in leafy green vegetables and whole grains will help maintain your brain healthy for the rest of your life. For many individuals, this means sticking to a Mediterranean diet that emphasises fish, fruits and vegetables, almonds, olive oil, and avocados while reducing red meat consumption.
The MIND diet, which is a cross between the Mediterranean and the heart-healthy DASH diets, with a focus on berries and leafy greens, was developed particularly to improve brain function. It has been demonstrated to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Dark chocolate is one pleasure to consider include in your diet. According to new study, flavanols contained in cocoa beans can aid enhance memory and cognitive performance.
Mushtaq also suggests keeping track of how much caffeine you consume. “In the appropriate amount, coffee can assist focus and avoid neurodegenerative illness,” she adds, but more than two cups can be hazardous, and the stimulants can make it difficult to fall asleep. She suggests having one or two cups in the morning and then switching to non-caffeinated drinks by 2 p.m.