Four components for better brain health

Read about these four components to maximize your brain function.

Read about these four components to maximize your brain function.

There might not be one supplement that will whip your brain into fighting shape, but there are a number of realistic strategies that you can employ to improve brain health.  Outlined below are four key components to a healthier brain.  Feel free to mix, match, and experiment with these.

Component #1: Exercise

We don’t necessarily think about our brain’s health when we hit the gym, but your brain actually reaps just as many rewards from physical activity as your body does.

Some of the benefits include:

  • Production of nerve-protecting compounds
  • Greater blood flow to your brain
  • Improved development and survival of neurons
  • Decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases such as stroke

If you don’t have hours to spend at the gym sculpting your abs and lobes, then opt for some type of cardio.  Running, swimming, bike riding, or anything else that promotes a high metabolic rate are all good choices.  Shoot for at least half an hour if you can.  20 minutes of sustained target heart rate is required to produce optimal results.

Component #2: Diet

Our diets are filled with an increasing amount of processed foods—which might be good for convenience sake, but it’s terrible for our brain’s health.  Fortunately, there are a lot of healthy and delicious options out there for us to choose from.

Here are some of the top ingredients for maximizing your brain function:

  • Omega-3 fats: These are probably some of the most important pieces to the brain health puzzle.  They can be found in cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, mackerel, halibut, sardines, and herring.  If you can’t get these, then a number of supplements exist, but your body doesn’t absorb them as well as the natural sources.
  • Less sugars and processed foods: These absolutely destroy the naturally occurring good bacteria that live in your stomach and thus changes the way that your brain performs.  Just like with the exercise mentioned above, your brain and your body will thank you later.
  • Get colorful with your diet: Different colored fruits and vegetables can bring a diverse group of benefits for you and your brain as well.  Mix it up, and if you have to pick one, go for green leafy vegetables.

Component #3: Sleep

It might seem like a no-brainer, but sleep is crucial, and sometimes we don’t give ourselves the time to do it.  Your brain needs sleep in order to recalibrate and work at maximum capacity.  It needs at least four hours to reset.  While you are sleeping, your brain is actually running through routines to help you solve problems in your waking life.  So get some sleep.

Component #4: Challenge Your Mind

It’s important to keep your brain active.  This can be done by doing very direct exercises like reading a book or trying to solve a puzzle, or it can be accomplished by playing memory games with yourself while you wait at the market.  You can try to estimate how many objects there are and then count them or people with a certain name.

Don’t be afraid to try new things either.  It’s been proven that by trying new things, you build new connections in your brain, and therefore improve your brain’s health—try painting or writing a short story.

There you have it, four simple and very flexible components to improve your brain’s health:  Exercise, Diet, Sleep, and Challenging your Mind.  Go get ‘em Einstein!

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