Many of the things that promote good physical and mental health also boost brain health. Below is a list of the things you can do to grow and maintain a healthy brain.
- Exercise – This is listed first because it is the single most important thing you can do. Physical exercise isn’t just good for your physical and mental health, it is also critical for brain health. Exercise fosters new brain cell growth and preserves existing brain cells. Briskly walk for 40 minutes, 4 days/week, or if you engage in more vigorous activity such as running or swimming, set 40 minutes, twice a week as a goal.
- Diet – Experts recommend eating a “Mediterranean diet,” one rich in fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, olives and nuts. This helps to maintain a healthy brain.
- Sleep sharpens the brain. An adult should get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. Click for additional tips on getting a good night’s sleep.
- Meditation – Stress is bad for your brain. Meditation can help reduce stress and thereby promote brain health.
- Brain exercises – Find an enjoyable activity that requires you to use your brain. Sign up for a class or take up a new hobby. Do crossword puzzles or play games that require some thought. Then keep at it.
- Maintain physical and mental health – Control your blood pressure, weight and cholesterol levels. When these are out of whack our brains suffer. Don’t smoke – it actually shrinks your brain. Depression too is bad for the brain, so make sure it is treated.
- Socialize – Cultivate a social network of friends, neighbors and/or family members. Join community organizations or volunteer. Social connectedness boosts brain health.