There are many aspects of your health that you have to take care of on a daily basis. One that can affect almost every aspect of your life, though, is your brain. When it comes to brain health, though, there is a lot you can do to decrease your chances of running into a problem both immediately and further down the road. To help you keep your mind on task and in working order, we have compiled 12 tips so that you can stay the healthy in mind as well as body.
Give Your Mind A Workout
It might sound cliché but one of the best ways to ensure that your brain stays functioning in top shape is to keep yourself thinking. It is easy to go through your day a bit mindlessly, getting caught up in the repetition of your routine. However, this isn’t necessarily best.
Luckily, though, it is easy to fit a little “brain exercise” into your daily routine. There are even games out there to make it fun to get your critical thinking skills working. You can do something as simple as a Sudoku puzzle or two or you can try a website that gives you a more creative take on traditional “brain games”.
2. Give Your Body A Workout
Another way to help your brain is to give your body a work out. In fact, a study done by the University of British Columbia found that aerobic exercise helped to increase the size of the hippocampus – the part of your brain that works with learning and verbal memory. It should be noted, though, that this only worked with aerobic exercise.
3. Eat A Balanced Diet
When you are talking about taking care of any aspect of your body, you are going to want to eat right as a step of that. This is because your body needs certain nutrients so that it can function properly. This is true for brain health as well. So, if you want to function to the best of your ability, you are going to want to make sure you get as balanced a diet as possible so your brain can call on all the nutrients it needs to to function at full capacity.
4. Consider Supplements
You could try to have the best diet possible but still miss out on some of the key vitamins and nutrients that you need. Don’t worry, though, because you can use supplements to provide some of what your body and brain are missing. The use of vitamin B and Omega-3, for example, has been proven helpful in staving off dementia. Vitamin C is another supplement that you might want to consider for mental functions if you aren’t get enough of it as it is absolutely crucial to the brain.
The first thing to know about this is that there is a big difference between supplements and nootropics. Supplements are made to give you some of the nutrients and vitamins that you are missing in your diet. Nootropics, on the other hand, are what some people call “smart drugs”. They are made to enhance the performance of skills that you already have.
One such “smart drug” is called Adrafinil. Adrafinil is used to help you by increasing your learning abilities, improve your memory, and increases your mental energy. This particular nootropic has become rather popular for its effects and the ample research behind it. However, you should be aware that nootropics like Adrafinil are used for their amplifying aspects of your cognitive abilities – they aren’t a miracle cure that will give you superpowers.
6. Avoid Toxins
When you are considering brain health, it isn’t all about what you put into your body. In fact, part of the equation, is about what you don’t put in your body. For an – extreme – example, look at the drugs that we’ve been warned against since the PSAs of the 1980s. However, avoiding things like alcohol and super sugary food and drinks can also help your brain function better.
7. Get Enough Sleep
Everyone has dragged themselves to work or class after a sleepless night. This usually results in shoddy work and dragging yourself through the day numbly. To increase your cognitive abilities and keep your brain from overworking itself, you should be sure to get enough sleep each night.
8. Give Yourself A Day Off
When you get over-anxious or stressed, you can feel like it’s hard to think. However, this is more than just a lack of focus. Some studies suggest that stress and anxiety can be associated with memory issues and even affect the function of neurotransmitters. So, while it isn’t always easy, you should try and give yourself a break to recoup and relax.
9. Spend Time with Family and Friends
Bad for you in more ways than one, you should avoid spending all your time alone. This is for a couple reasons. First, social interaction helps to increase your mood – you are more likely to suffer from something like depression if you were to never interact with another person. In addition, though, having people around is good to help you handle anything that could pose a threat to your brain health like the aforementioned stress anxiety.
10. Continue to Learn
Earlier, we mentioned that you should continue to challenge your mind with puzzles to keep your cognitive skills sharp. However, you should also do this by learning new things as well. Whether you pick up a new skill or decide to learn a language, this learning will test your cognitive abilities and keep your memory working constantly.
11. When You See Signs of a Problem: Act
If something comes up in your mental health and brain function, don’t ignore it. For example, if you see signs of dementia in a loved one or find yourself succumbing to the symptoms of depression, it is best to see a doctor about the issues rather than just hoping that they go away.
12. Wear A Helmet
Finally, you need to protect your head! When we think of brain health, we often think of protecting the functions of our brains. However, you should also be sure to protect your head from physical injuries like concussions. This means wearing a helmet when you ride a bike, for example.