Taking Care of Your Brain’s Health
Thanks to modern technology and massive advances in research, scientists today are learning more and more about our brains and how they work. Or, in some cases, how they don’t work. While most research has debunked the myth that we use only ten percent of our brain’s capacity (or less), studies have proven that our brain alone uses a massive twenty percent of our body’s energy.
Needless to say, our brains are important and we need them to work efficiently.
The Health of Your Brain
Our brains change dramatically during life – doubling in the first year of our lives and beginning to show signs of aging as early as our twenties. Although impacted naturally by aging, we play a large role in maintaining the health of our brains. What we do each day and the habits we form over our lives dramatically impact how are brains are able to function.
Yes, genes and luck to play a role in the health of our brains, but more and more research is proving that what we do can be equally important – if not more.
Our brains grow and develop throughout life, entering unique stages as babies, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. Because of a brain’s “plasticity”, or its ability to adapt, making healthy changes today, no matter what your age, can help to ensure that your brain is healthy throughout your life.
5 Ways to Keep The Adult Brain Healthy
Life gets busy as an adult – and so do our brains. With so much learning taking place, from the workplace to home life, relationships and more, it can feel like our brain’s are in hyperdrive. Add to that the multitasking and constant technological input, and it’s easy to see why our brains could use some help.
Here are five science-backed ways to help keep your brain healthy as an adult:
- Be Social: Maintain old friendships and start new ones
- Drink Water: Keeping your body hydrated helps to keep your brain functioning
- Sleep: It gets harder and harder to sleep deeply as we age, but getting as much as you can is crucial for keeping your brain working well
- Experience New Things: Whether you travel or pick up a new skill, asking your brain to do something different helps to keep it active
- Exercise: According to recent studies, regular exercise ups your brain’s capabilities by as much as thirty percent
What you eat impacts how well your brain works. Study after study shows that the better you eat, the better your brain works, and the longer you live. Here are five brain-boosting foods that need to get into your diet as frequently as possible:
- Beets: These colorful vegetables improve the blood flow to your brain
- Lentils: Packed with folate, these legumes increase brain power while also fighting certain amino acids that can inhibit how your brain functions
- Walnuts: A winning combination of antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids up your brain’s performance
- Spinach: Leafy greens like spinach and kale have been proven to reduce the speed of your brain’s aging
- Grass-Fed Beef: Increasing the levels of iron in your body help your brain receive more oxygen and perform better with cognitive tasks
Supplements for Your Brain
While diet and exercise can do a lot, there are some supplements that are also recommended to help keep your brain functioning at any age. Below are the three most interesting (and effective) brain supplements:
- Curcumin: Found naturally in turmeric, curcumin can elevate the “happy” chemicals in your brain (dopamine and serotonin) and has been shown to improve memory and focus.
- American Ginseng: Different than other types of ginseng, American Ginseng is grown specifically to help enhance cognitive capabilities.
- Lion’s Mane Mushroom: Used medicinally for thousands of years, this specialty mushroom improves your brain’s overall health, increasing memory, concentration, and performance.
Brain Games, Exercises, and Apps
And then, of course, there’s an app for that! In fact, there are a lot of scientifically proven games and exercises that help your build your brain’s capabilities while simultaneously keeping it healthy.
Below are our top four picks for brain-building games and exercises (some in app form!)
- Memory Games: It may sound old-school, but testing your memory through games is a super effective way to keep your brain healthy. It can be as simple as memorizing your grocery list or as fun as the challenges you can find on the app Lumosity.
- Math: Yep, our old primary school friend is back. But, solving math problems in your head is a simple way to activate your brain. Next time your tempted to bring out the calculator, see if you can figure it out yourself first.
- Be Happy: Happier brains seem to be healthier brains according to recent research, which makes the app Happify, a fun way to train your brain to be happier on a regular basis, a great addition to your smart phone.
- Foreign Language: Learning a foreign language challenges and stimulates your brain – and it’s a good reason to book that trip you’ve been dying to go on! Try Duolinguo, a free, easy-to-use language-learning app.
The health of your brain matters. Thankfully, aging and brain health don’t have to be directly linked, so long as you stay on top of keeping your brain active and engaged. The more you enjoy life, take advantage of opportunities, and maintain your health – the more likely you are to have a healthy brain for decades to come.