A lot of people take care of their body through exercising and protecting the skin using sunscreen. While all this is fine and good, one must not neglect to care for what is probably the body’s most important organ: the brain.
Acting as a command center, the small but powerful organ controls the rest of the body’s systems and keeps it functioning well. While researchers still find the brain’s inner workings a mystery, they’ve found out how people’s daily choices can actually affect the brain for the better.
Here are some science-backed ways you can keep your brain healthy.
Socialize with People
According to Alzheimer’s Prevention Initiative associate director Jessica Langbaum, PhD, engaging socially with other people is one of the best things a person can do for the health of the brain. Even small talk with one’s book club circle can do one a lot of good.
Having an active social life can also protect people from the negative effects of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. Having high levels of this hormone can actually affect one’s memory as was found by a study published in the American academic journal, Neurology.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease yet, some researchers have developed a diet that would help people prevent cognitive decline as they get older.
Called the MIND diet, this way of eating mixes the Mediterranean diet with DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). Since its introduction to the public, the diet has been reportedly found to be effective in preventing neuron death and reducing oxidative stress.
Learn Something New
As neuroscience and psychology professor Tracey Shors, PhD put it, the brain likes novelty. Thus, she recommends people to challenge themselves by learning new things and skills.
Shors discounted activities like doing sudoku puzzles though as it only employs the same skills over and over. Instead, she touts activities which can requires one’s full attention and keep one developing more skills as time goes on like learning to speak a new language for example.
Prioritize Getting Fit
Experts also cite exercise as a way to keep the brain and the body in top shape. For one, staying active has been proven to lower people’s risk of getting strokes and helps them manage their blood pressure better. What more, exercising can increase blood flow to the brain which can then reduce inflammation because of the increase in oxygen supply.
Get Good Sleep
It’s when people sleep that the brain gets to work to ‘clean up’ the waste that built up due to day’s cognitive activities. Thus, getting good quality sleep every night is imperative.
Those who find themselves tossing and turning for hours at night can benefit from starting a ‘bedtime routine’ to help them fall asleep faster.