From controlling our actions to allowing us to think and feel—our brain controls all the things that make us human. However, it seems that most people don’t consider keeping their brain fit until they observe some cognitive changes and memory loss in later life.
Consider the following ways to keep your brain in good shape at any age:
Eat brain-boosting foods
The human brain thrives when you feed your body with foods abundant in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K, and choline.
Omega-3 fatty acids mostly found in fatty fishes like salmon, trout and sardines are responsible for building the brain and nerve cells. These healthy fatty acids slow down the development of age-related mental diseases.
Antioxidants found in many vegetables and fruits help protect your brain from damage caused by oxidative stress and inflammation. Blueberries contain anthocyanins with antioxidant effects that help improve communication between brain cells. On the other hand, curcumin found in turmeric boosts a type of growth hormone that helps brain cells grow.
Choline, mostly found in eggs, nuts and other dairy foods, is an essential nutrient that the body uses to produce acetylcholine, a chemical that helps control mood and memory.
Green tea contains an amino acid called L-theanine that can traverse the blood-brain barrier and boosts the activity of the neurotransmitter GABA, which helps bring down anxiety making you feel calmer.
Get enough sleep
The National Sleep Foundation suggests adults sleep seven to nine hours so that they can reap the benefits of a good night’s rest.
The brain doesn’t stop working even when you’re sleeping. Instead, it performs another set of tasks vital for a healthy brain. According to Dr. Romie Mushtaq, a neurologist and integrative medicine specialist, “Sleep is the most important thing you can do to reset the brain, allow it to heal, and to restore mental health.”
For instance, sleep gives your brain the time it needs to clear out beta-amyloid, the toxins that can cause Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Also, when these toxins are trashed, you feel much better the morning after.
Exercise is not only essential for your physique, it is also vital for a sharp brain. It increases heart rate pumping more oxygen to the brain as well as help in releasing bodily hormones essential for the brain to function properly.
Furthermore, physical exercises boost blood flow to the brain increasing the size of the hippocampus—the part of the brain that naturally shrinks as people get older. So, get your body moving every day!
Learn new things
No matter how old you are, your brain will always be excited to learn new tricks. In fact, your brain will thank you for learning a new skill. Building new skills create new connections between brain cells that will help your brain to stay sharp.
Dr. Elise Caccappolo, an associate professor of neuropsychology at Columbia University Medical Center in New York, believes that the changes associated with neurodegenerative diseases will hardly manifest if various natural circuits are used as a result of intellectual stimulation.
Moreover, it is recommended to learn real-world skills than to play online games that promise to enhance your cognitive skills. For one thing, online games do not relate to real-life activities.
Mingle with other people
While it’s good to spend some time alone, your brain will be much happier if you could hang out with your friends. When we interact with others, we actually train our brains. Socialization enhances memory formation and recall and protects the brain from neurodegenerative diseases.
Caccapolo explained ‘when you’re socializing, the blood circulates to several different parts of your brain as you’re listening and formulating responses.’
Keep your brain sharp no matter your age
Significant memory loss is not part of the effects of aging and there’s always something you can do to avoid it at no cost. Along with a healthy lifestyle, you can enjoy the benefits of having a sharp brain even in your 60s or 70s!