Your brain controls every function in your body. The way your eyes blink, your ability to shed tears and the urge to go to the bathroom are all controlled by your brain. It therefore makes sense to keep your brain healthy. A healthy brain is a healthy person and a healthy person is able to be productive at work.
However, unlike other essential organs in your body like your heart for instance, there isn’t always a lot of emphasis placed on brain health. More than ever however, it is essential that we talk about strategies you can put in place to make sure your brain is healthy and happy.
In this post, we will go over 10 ways to keep your brain healthy and happy.
Drink more water
Over 70% of your brain is made of water. This is why severe dehydration will cause people to become dizzy and weak. While there is no hard and fast rule on how much water you should drink daily, a good rule of thumb is to drink 6-8 glasses of water daily.
Play brain games to keep your brain active and stimulated
You need to exercise your brain. Studies in humans and mice that a lack of brain stimulation keeps your brain healthy. When you stimulate your brain by playing games like Scrabble, Sudoku or crossword puzzles, new neural connections are formed between your brain cells. These type of brain games may even help with generating new brain cells which provide protection against future brain cell loss. Any activity that requires mental effort is great for your brain for these reasons.
Eat foods that promote brain health
Your diet is not just good for keeping your heart healthy or losing weight. It also affects your brain! Researchers have found that a diet that is high in protein, moderate in carbohydrates and high in fat helped elders stay mentally alert better than their counterparts who ate a high carbohydrate diet over a period of 10 years. It is also well-documented that foods which are high in Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D promote brain health. Brain healthy foods include: eggs, meat, fish, lentils, beans, peas, soy milk, beef liver, mushrooms, and cheese.
Take care of your heart
Your heart delivers oxygen-containing blood to different parts of your body including your brain. The right oxygen delivered to your brain means you are able to stay sharp and alert. Eating heart-healthy foods, moderate exercise and keeping bad cholesterol down are all perfect ways to keep your heart healthy, pumping and delivering the necessary oxygen and nutrients to your brain. A healthy heart can also mean a healthy brain. Taking care of either therefore will help you stay healthier longer.
Improve your blood sugar
Diabetes is a risk factor for dementia. If you have a family history of high blood sugar, this is an area to pay attention to. A lot of the activities that prevent heart disease are also important for keeping diabetes at bay. Ways to improve your blood sugar levels include:
- Regular exercise
- Eating heart-healthy foods like whole grains and vegetables
- Taking any prescribed medication for your diabetes
- Consulting with your doctor regularly especially if you find that your medication is not controlling your sugar levels adequately
Tobacco is harmful to your brain. It is best if you can avoid it all together.
Alcohol abuse can have harmful effects on your brain. Drink responsibly.
Avoid narcotic abuse
Narcotic abuse are linked with several major mental health problems including schizophrenia.
Pursue healthy interpersonal relationships
Healthy interpersonal relationships are important for a healthy brain. If you feel you are in a friendship or romantic relationship that is abusive, seek help, counseling and most importantly, leave that relationship. In situations where someone has threatened to kill you if you leave a relationship, it may be helpful to get the word out to authorities in a way that does not put your life and others in danger.
Reduce stress in your life
Stress is linked to all kinds of health problems and it can take a toll on your brain. In 2006 The American Institute on Stress did a study where 46% of people reported that they were stressed because of their workload. Twenty eight percent of people said their stress with interpersonal issues while 20% said that having to balance work and life was stressful. Six percent of respondents said they were stressed out because of a lack of job security. Apart from these stressors, you might be stressed out about your children or financial problems. Life is stressful by itself. However, if you find that stress is interfering with your daily functioning, it is time to find ways to reduce your stress levels so that you can function at your best.