A healthy brain can improve your quality of life significantly as it influences the way you think, feel and behave.
It also keeps off mental illnesses and deterioration due to age. However, mental health care is still not a priority for many people.
Some wait until they start seeing symptoms to begin taking care of their mental health. Just as we take care of our physical health, it’s important to take care of our brain health.
There are some practices you can adopt in your daily life to keep your brain young and sharp. Here are some.
1. Reduce sugar intake
Excessive sugar intake can threaten your brain health. A slight spike of glucose in the bloodstream causes inflammation leading to slower cognitive function in the brain. In a Charité University Medical Centre study, people who eat sugary foods were found to have lower scores on tests than people who didn’t eat sugary foods. Sugar also increases the risk of suffering from depression. This is because refined sugar drains B vitamins which are necessary for maintaining a positive mood.
2. Learn something new
Once we get to a certain age, we push learning to the side and focus on earning an income. However, this can slow the brain down and be detrimental to your brain health. Learning new things is important especially for older adults in order to engage every part of your brain and keep it sharp. It stimulates neurons in the brain, allowing electrical impulses to travel faster across them and boost your brain’s general performance. You can learn how to play an instrument, speak a new language, do photography or improve your professional skills.
3. Read more books
Regular reading can help slow the brain’s ageing process. It helps enhance connectivity in the brain thus boosting memory and other cognitive functions. Additionally, reading is a great stress reliever as it offers a distraction from the world. This puts your mind at ease wading off stress-related mental issues such as depression. Try to read at least one book a week and branch out from familiar topics.
Socializing plays a significant role in keeping our brains healthy. It engages different areas of the brain which help reduce the risks of suffering from mental illnesses such as dementia. Additionally, socializing releases feel-good hormones in our brain which wades off depression and anxiety. Therefore, you should maintain an active social life for the sake of your brain health. If you’re introverted, you can join a club to help you meet new people.
5. Play games
Video games, crosswords, and chess are some great brain-boosting games. They stimulate memory, enhances visual perception, and improves problem-solving skills which come in handy in real-life situations. Not to mention, playing video games increases dopamine levels in the brain. A study found that the amount of dopamine released while playing video games was similar to what one gets after using a stimulant drug.
6. Get enough rest
The brain is constantly working even in your sleep. However, it’s during deep sleep that the brain recovers. A study found that sleep helps remove toxins from your brain that accumulate while you’re awake. This helps form new pathways in the brain that keep it sharp. Therefore, getting inadequate sleep can lead to poor brain health and serious mental issues. Try to get in at least 7 hours of sleep to give your brain time to recover.