Keeping your brain sharp and preventing mental decline involves more than just the brain itself. Healthy practices in many areas of life will help you keep your brain, as well as your body, in top shape. Here are 10 easy and natural ways to help keep your brain in top shape now and prevent problems later:
1. Lead an active lifestyle and exercise regularly. Regular exercise such as brisk walking, swimming, aerobics and yoga in mid-life helps forestall and prevent memory problems that often come with aging. In later years, regular exercise and physical activity can actually improve the brain function of people with mild cognitive impairment. There is no need to overdo it – mild to moderate exercise is all it takes. The key is to do it regularly.
2. Exercise your brain. An active brain stays sharp and continues to produce new connections between nerve cells. Studies have shown the benefits of regularly working crosswords and other brain challenges. Other things to consider are reading, playing games such as chess, and learning a new hobby. Instead of watching mind numbing TV shows watch programs that provide new and thought provoking information such as shows about history and science.
3. Eat a healthy diet. A diet that is low in saturated fats, sugar, bleached white flour and junk foods and which has an abundance of colorful fruits and veggies will keep your brain sharp as well as keeping your body trim and protect you against diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
4. Avoid and manage stress. We have all heard that stress is the silent killer and it is true. Stress also damages your brain by releasing damaging hormones. Some of the best ways to manage stress include simplifying your life, avoiding stressful situations, stopping to smell the roses from time to time, and using techniques such as yoga, meditation, EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and/or MTT (Meridian Tapping Technique).
5. Get adequate sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night. Restful sleep enables the body and brain to heal and recharge so that you are healthier and are able to think more clearly. Sleep also helps you have a better long-term memory.
6. Be sure to include plenty of antioxidants in your diet. Numerous studies have shown that a diet rich in antioxidants helps prevent and slow age-related declines in memory and learning. Among the very best sources of antioxidants are blueberries, dark grapes and pomegranates.
7. Incorporate plenty of essential omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3s help protect the brain against age-related decline and maintain proper brain function throughout life. Some of the best omega-3 sources include fatty cold water fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel, and herring.