Posted by Dr. Jonathan Eskenazi
Everyone knows just how necessary it is to maintain our physical bodies, but taking care of our brain is equally as important.
So, what are the best ways to keep your brain healthy? Is it solving crossword puzzles or taking a lot vitamins and nutritional supplements? Following a healthy diet or doing regular exercise?
We found that the truth is there is no magic pill to keep your brain healthy. Instead, it’s a combination of various healthy habits and social activities that keep your brain functioning in great shape and contribute to a healthy mind and body.
Your brain is the ‘powerhouse’ of your body, as it controls your speech and movements, helps you express your thoughts and stores your memories. Just as living an unhealthy lifestyle can affect your body, it can also have a negative impact on your brain and mental health. But, the same steps we take to keep our bodies healthy can also help us keep our brains strong.
So, to celebrate Brain Awareness Week this March we pulled together some easy tips to help you keep your ‘powerhouse’ fit:
1. Eat Healthy: Following a good diet can protect your brain from many kinds of diseases. Studies have shown that plant-based diets or vegetables, proteins, and healthy fats are good for brain health. A study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society says Mediterranean diet helps lower the risk of brain related problems in older adults. Also, try to avoid high-sugar food as much as possible.
2. Exercise Regularly and Get Good Sleep: Physical activity is a good way to keep the brain energized and refreshed as it increases blood flow, oxygen and nutrients. But, like you, your brain needs rest too. So make sure to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep every night to allow it to rest and recoup.
3. Challenge Your Brain and Socialize More: Like your body, your brain needs exercise too. Challenge your brain by solving crossword puzzles, Sudoko, word building games, etc. Try and play those games with friends too! Socializing more often and meeting with friends and family allows you to engage in conversations that not only help keep your brain active and thinking, but also allows you to more easily recover from stress or feelings of loneliness or depression.
4. Quit Smoking: Putting down the cigarettes is one of the best ways you can protect your brain from dementia, memory loss, forgetfulness and even difficulty in thinking. The sooner you quit smoking, better the chances to save your brain from any potential diseases and keep it functioning properly.
5. Regular Check-ups: Your doctor can help detect any early signs of trouble, like dementia. By doing memory screening tests—which test your memory and thinking skills—doctors can screen patients for reversible causes of dementia and start early treatments. Your doctor can also screen for vitamin deficiencies and provide you with the necessary supplements.
Following these simple lifestyle and social habits can keep your brain and body healthy throughout your lifetime!