Ever wonder what you can do to keep your brain functioning at its optimal level? Here are just a few ways to improve and protect the health of your most important organ.
In addition to mental exercise, the brain also loves when you put on those sneakers and get moving. A minimum of 20 minutes of daily cardiovascular activity gets the heart rate up and pumps more oxygen to the brain.
Since the brain doesn’t like when the body is sedentary, it really benefits from exercise, which helps release hormones that nurture the environment for cell growth. Try out activities such as running or biking to grow your brain. Cycling offers health benefits and is a brain favorite, too. Essentially, you’re building your brain.
Keep in mind that exercising first thing in the morning is best because it jump starts brain activity and prepares the mind and body for the day’s challenges. When you’re limited on time, try to do an activity that combines coordination and cardio, such as Zumba or a step or dance class.
The brain benefits from nutritious foods just like the rest of our body. It sounds funny but it’s true. Not all foods are equal when it comes to cerebral function; some help the brain thrive more than others. Foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, otherwise known as “brainberries,” help ward off age-related diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Avocados are also a good monounsaturated fat that promote healthy cerebral blood flow and reduce the chance of hypertension, a risk factor for cognitive decline. Another great nutritional option that will keep your brain strong is nuts.
One of the leading activities in preventing brain deterioration is simply playing games. Taking time out to indulge in mental endurance games such as learning to play poker may actually help keep cerebral atrophy at bay. Brain atrophy is a decrease in connections between neurons and can be caused by diseases such as Alzheimer’s, front temporal dementia, and Pick’s disease.
The brain doesn’t like to be sedentary so activities that allow it to flex its muscle through recalling information or learning a new skill will keep it thriving. Games like poker keep the brain engaged and focused for long periods of time. Players are required to analyze hands for all the possible outcomes and use probability equations to determine the likelihood of winning. In addition, poker has a human element that requires players to read other players mannerisms for things like bluffs or tells.
Nuts are full of vitamin E and also reduce the chances of cognitive decline. Indulge in walnuts, cashews, almonds, flax seeds, peanuts, hazelnuts and even peanut butter. Lastly, green vegetables such as spinach, kale, or romaine lettuce also help keep the brain ecstatic. The green vegetables are full of vitamin K and A, which help battle inflammation and mental deterioration. If you’re pressed for time and really want to give your brain a super sized meal full of everything it loves, consider making a smoothie with all the ingredients listed above.
These are all simple changes you can adopt to ensure your brain stays as healthy as you deserve – and for many decades to come.