A person’s existence has a huge impact on their brain health. How a person manages stress, how well they socialize, how well they sleep, how much they exercise, and what they drink and eat all are crucial to brain health.
So how does one achieve brain health? Here are seven pillars of brain health that can help you achieve optimal brain health, even into old age.
1. Physical Exercise
You need to get your body moving because those who exercise on a regular basis have a decreased risk of coming down with Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise can improve both your memory and your blood flow. It also causes chemical changes in the brain that boost mood and thinking. It is important to exercise and stay fit in order to have a healthy brain. Exercise can prolong your life, reduce the risk of heart disease, maximize sleep, help you lose weight, and improve your mood. The mind is closely linked to the body so the more exercise you get, the better your mind functions. Try regular exercise to develop a strong memory.
2. Reducing Risks For Mental Health Conditions
We cannot always avoid mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. However, there are things we can do to reduce risk factors for such diagnoses. For one, avoiding and dealing with chronic stress can help reduce risks for depression and anxiety conditions. Additionally, learning healthy coping skills for dealing with life’s problems and our own emotions can help prevent us from going into a depressive spiral. One of the biggest considerations in this respect is the health of our relationships, where we actually have more control than we might have in other life situations.
3. Food and nutrition
There is some truth the old adage “you are what you eat.” By making good food choices every day, you can improve the health of your brain. As a person ages, their brain is subjected to stress that can be harmful to their brain health. The process by which stress affects brain health is known as “oxidation,” which can be damaging to a person’s brain health. Food that is high in antioxidants can help reduce the negative effects of oxidation. Try eating a Mediterranean diet, which is high in nuts, olives, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and fish. The Mediterranean diet can be a way to achieve good brain health.
4. Medical health
Good brain health starts with controlling your medical risks. Things like smoking, high cholesterol, head trauma, depression, obesity, and diabetes all increase a person’s chances of developing dementia. If you get regular check-ups and follow your doctor’s advice (that means taking medications as prescribed), you will be better both physically and mentally. Your brain is happier when you take care of your medical health. Make sure you avoid obesity as people who are overweight have an increased risk of diabetes, which can lead to dementia. Try to improve balance exercises, strength training, and aerobic exercises.
5. Sleep and relaxation
Your brain functions better when you are well rested. Sleep is energizing, improves your immune system, enhances your mood, and restarts the brain. It may also decrease the development of beta-amyloid plaque, which is linked to Alzheimer’s dementia. Anyone who has had to stay awake for an extended period of time, or got a bad night’s sleep knows how much of an impact this has on mental functioning, focus, and concentration. If you have trouble with sleeping well, try meditation to manage your stress levels, which may also help to decrease the age-related loss of brain health. There are very few things that help a person feel better than getting enough sleep. It sharpens the brain and helps maximize the mind.
6. Mental fitness
Brain health depends on using your mind to its maximum ability. Those who spend much of their time in front of a television are not really stimulating the brain and exercising it in a way that promotes its growth and power, something that is similar to muscle atrophy from lack of movement. Getting enough mental exercise is just as critical as physical exercise is to brain health. Mental exercise can maximize a person’s ability to promote brain cell growth and improve the functioning of their brain. It can decrease the chances of developing Alzheimer’s dementia. Just as a person exercises their muscles, they need to exercise their brain. There is something known as “brain reserve,” which helps the brain respond and adapt to mental changes and reduce the risk that your brain will sustain damage. A person’s brain reserve starts when they are children and only gets stronger when the person gets older. People who persist in developing new interests and skills, and are engaged in things that are interesting, partake in new activities, and continue to learn new things will maximize their brain reserve.
7. Social interaction
People who maintain social interaction and remain connected with others have better brain health. Try to engage in conversation with others, spend time with others, and stay in touch with loved ones. Those people who have the most social interaction enjoy better brain health.