Everyone is well aware of the fact that the brain is the most dominant and powerful organ in the human body. How you feel, what you think, how you react, your brain controls everything. From helping you to communicate, create memories, and develop social interactions to building a strong personality, the brain takes charge of nearly all of these and a lot more. It’s the most valuable asset you have. Taking good care of it will help to keep your brain healthy and young, and this is what we are going to discuss today. In this article, you’ll learn about the six habits of a highly healthy brain.
1. Physical Exercise
We all know the countless benefits of exercise for our bodies. But do you know how consequential physical activity is to keep your brain healthy and sharp? Activities like running, walking, cycling, swimming, and even minimal weight-lifting, they all help to improve your cognitive performance.
Many studies have found that exercise generates new neurons in the hippocampus, the brain area that has a major role in memory and learning. Moreover, it reduces the risk of developing depression, dementia, and many heart related diseases.
You don’t necessarily need to hit the gym to get yourself engaged in physical activity. A simple walk outdoors can benefit your brain in innumerable ways.
2. Quality Sleep
A good night sleep every night improves your brain performance, keeps you in a light mood, and helps to boost your focus throughout the day.
Scientists have found that it’s a lot easier for a well-rested mind to remember previously forgotten information. They believe sleep boosts our power of recall and helps our brain to stay sharp and healthy.
While you sleep, your brain remains active and clears itself of toxins that build-up over time. It may be one of the reasons why you feel so fresh and mentally productive when you get a proper amount of sleep.
On the other hand, studies have shown that lack of sleep can lead to serious health problems, such as depression, chronic stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even it can shorten your life expectancy. Not only this, but chronic sleep deprivation also reduces cognitive abilities. So, if you want to stay healthy, don’t compromise on your sleep.
3. Relaxation Methods
We have heard more than a thousand times how chronic stress deteriorates our physical health, but I am not sure how many of you know how badly it affects your brain. When your body perceives stress, your adrenal glands that are found above kidneys and are responsible for producing a variety of hormones, release cortisol (the stress hormone) into your bloodstream.
Normal levels of this hormone can help control blood sugar levels and blood pressure, reduce inflammation, heighten memory, and lower the sensitivity to pain. However, too high cortisol levels for too long can hurt you more than it helps. It can affect your brain’s ability to function properly, prevent the birth of new neurons, and reduce its size. If you don’t want this to happen, practice relaxation methods like meditation, which can help to reduce stress and keep your brain healthy.
4. Mentally Challenging Activities
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities is one of the best ways to keep your brain fit and firing. Many studies have found that learning new things and practicing brainy activities can help the brain to form new connections between brain cells (neurons). The structure of your brain changes every time you learn something new.
There are numerous activities you can perform every day to improve your cognitive ability, such as reading, writing, learning new words, taking courses, drawing, painting, solving word puzzles, or complex math problems, and you can add more to the list.
5. Strong Social Connections
Man is by nature a social animal, said Aristotle, the legendary Greek philosopher, and we have no second thoughts about it. Interacting with people brings us benefits on a mental and physical level.
Face-to-face contact releases a whole cascade of neurotransmitters and, like a vaccine, they protect you now, in the present, and well into the future, so simply […] shaking hands, giving somebody a high-five is enough to release oxytocin, which increases your level of trust, and it lowers your cortisol levels, so it lowers your stress, said Susan Pinker, a social psychologist.
Research has shown that meaningful social connections can help to improve your power of recall and protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases.
Connect with people and expand your social network, you’ll be happy, and your brain will work better.
6. Healthy Diet
Can the foods you eat improve brain health? The answer is yes.
Many experts have emphasized that people should start a Mediterranean style diet because they believe it may protect against Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, and prevent cognitive decline.
Add fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fish, and nuts to your diet and stay fit both physically and mentally.
Do you want to add some more to the list? Comment below!