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Five Tips to Keep your Brain Healthy

Updated on August 2, 2011
Left and Right hemispheres of the brain
Left and Right hemispheres of the brain | Source
Aerial view of brain
Aerial view of brain | Source

Brain function

Do you have moments when you can't remember things? Or you enter a room needing to do something but when you get there you couldn't recall what it was you needed to do? Do you feel old or tired or overwhelmed? Do you find yourself constantly adding several more items to a list when you planned to pick up a few items at the grocery store, and still get home without the thing you really went to the store to buy in the first place.

Well science is making breakthroughs every day to reverse these small glitches that come with ageing according to medical doctors who specialize in treating those over fifty. Ageing gracefully is always possible. But it goes beyond just diet and exercise although those are key to any type of wellbeing.

Graceful ageing has to do with several lifestyle changes. These must be incorporated in one's life so that it is an integral part of their daily routine. They are easy but to be effectively well into the eighties and nineties and living like a thirty something year old they must be consistent.

1. Nutrition - what you put in your mouth!

It really is the most important thing we can do for ourselves, eating right. Eating the right foods in the right amounts are beneficial to anybody. It improves overall health and combats diseases.

But we have to eat! Natural, organic, healthy foods have been proven to make all the difference. You have to be careful of pesticides and chemicals that can be destructive to the body's cells.

Water is essential, since our brains are reportedly 70% water, it must be kept lubricated and drinking the right amounts of water aids in this, hydrating is necessary to healthy body function. The best thing most of us can do for ourselves is to drink water!

Lean meats, green leafy vegetables, fruits, herbs and spices

Best foods - wild salmon. cocao beans, Matcha, Acai berries and blueberries, and coffee.

Natural healthy oils like coconut oil, and olive oil are great for the body.

2. Exercise - moving your body!

Just moving your body is important, period! It has so many benefits. For example, it helps with weight loss, flexibility, muscle tone and retention. Exercise is also linked to mental health, which means that adrenaline and the feeling of euphoria come with the body being active.

It doesn't really matter what type of exercise you choose but doing something that increases blood flow, gets the muscles warmed up, breaking a little sweat and building muscle is more than adequate to keep the body and brain young.

Walking is the simplest! Yet, it has been found to be just as beneficial to the body, which in turn benefits the brain. Walking just 20 minutes a day 4 or 5 times a week makes a difference in a lifetime. Doing activities that aid in flexibility is also beneficial.

Donald Stuss. PhD, a neuropsychologist and director of Rotman Research Institute in Toronto recommends aerobic exercise to keep the brain young and healthy.

Mark McDaniel, PhD, a professor of psychology at Washington University in St. Louis, believes on top of aerobic exercise you should also add weight training. Strong healthy muscle keeps the body well.

3. Relationships - someone to love!

Human beings need connections. Any relationship with another person or an animal makes them live longer. It is a proven fact that married people live longer than single. That the human being needs to be touched, cared for and loved.

Studies have shown that babies die without touch! Others have proven that touch conveys more about how much we love and are in tune to another human being.

Having a relationship with God also impacts the human want for intimate satisfaction, meditation, prayer and belief in a higher power causes the brain to light up in many areas, releasing endorphins.

4. Learning - doing something new! Or teaching.

  1. Language
  2. Craft, learning an instrument,
  3. Reading a new book
  4. New words
  5. Doing research
  6. Teaching a class
  7. Exploring

"Anything that closely engages your focus and is challenging", according to Michael Merzenich, PhD, a neuroscientist - says games help the brain stay active since as we age it slows down.

5. Laughing and Sleep - doing away with stress and enjoying life!

Feel good chemical messenger, dopamine is released through our reaction to humor, like eating chocolate or having sex, it is addictive to the human brain because it is pleasurable.

Enjoying life, laughing, playing around and joking is known to trigger the brain on many different levels helping to retain information and defuse stress, which leads to the body's confusion and the release of cortisol.

Cortisol is released in stressful situations. It is typically triggered in a fight or flight mode when the brain feels threatened. So any type of stress in our lives releases this response, too much cortisol has been linked to several disorders.

Playing video games, ping pong, doing jigsaw puzzles, word games even bingo stimulate the brain on more levels promoting health and cognizant linking of thoughts.

Remembering to sleep is also vitally important to brain health, but not just sleeping you should actually rest, slipping into REM sleep is necessary for repair and brain health. It is to the individuals advantage to get between 7 to 8 hours sleep every night.

Recommendations are

  • 7 to 8 hours sleep is best, it's been proven that less or more tends to affect the body example weight gain .
  • Going to bed at the same time every night before 11 pm and getting up every morning at the same time between 6 and 7 am, you can train the body to sleep and wake at the same time daily.
  • Having a quiet, dark bedroom, with no imposing light, to promote sleep and cycles of sleep.

Brain teaser

1. How many animals did Moses put on the Ark?

2. Change one digit to make this correct 62 - 63 =1

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4019 Westerly Pl, Newport Beach, CA 92660, USA
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    • Celiegirl profile image

      Celiegirl 6 years ago

      Thank you so much K. Burns Darling, i am glad you have more time to enjoy your father, that your children get to gain from him knowledge and understanding, that is awesome. i want to help, anything i can do - gives life meaning, so glad i can encourage others. Your dad sounds very fortunate! Be blessed!

    • K. Burns Darling profile image

      Kristen Burns-Darling 6 years ago from Orange County, California

      My dad is an Alzheimer's patient, he was diagnosed in 2008, and according to the statistics he should be much less functioning now than he is, and I credit that to his healthy eating habits (he was always very aware of what was good for him and what was not, and instilled good eating habits in his children as a result of his example), keeping his mind active, an engineer by trade and a curious individual by nature, he was never one to sit and do nothing or just stare at a television all day, he was well read, and was always learning, and having the love of his family surround him, I moved myself and my family home to care for him and believe strongly that being forced to interact with his 4 grandchildren everyday has helped to keep him cognitive. All of this he did by chance, but it is affording us more time with him, your hub may help others to do this on purpose, and give someone else's family that same gift. Great Hub with lots of very useful information! Voted up, useful, awesome, interesting!