The human body has an incredible ability to heal and rejuvenate itself. Like all organs, the brain is no different in this regard as it issues signals to indicate danger and prevent harm. The brain and body require a healthy lifestyle, nutritious diet, and regular exercise to maintain self-healing and damage prevention mechanisms.
However, as we age, our brain and immune systems start weakening. Our brain and mental functioning reduce overtime, setting the stage for cognitive decline. Have you ever seen your grandfather or elderly relative struggling to remember significant events and daily routines? Mental decline is the most challenging sign of aging, and it can drastically reduce a person’s life quality.
Some people enjoy robust brain health and live up to over 80 years with great vitality and cognitive functioning. Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch in history, is a fine example of vigorous brain health and vitality. If you look closely, seniors with active cognitive functioning and no mental decline signs maintain healthy and wholesome lifestyles.
Adopting healthy habits and quitting brain-damaging behaviors can help reduce your risk for cognitive decline. Let’s explore some powerful strategies and practices to keep your brain healthy and robust.
Stimulate the Mind
Mental stimulation is a powerful way to heal the brain, rejuvenate its nerve cells and energize your cognitive functioning. How does that work? Clinical research with human and mice subjects reveals that mental stimulation encourages new connections between nerve cells.
Brainy activities can stimulate the development of new brain cells. Scientifically, this process is neurological plasticity. The brain can erect functional reserves to compensate for nerve cell damages or loss in the future.
If you study human brain fascinations, you can pursue bachelors in psychology and dedicate your career to research. Later, you can specialize in cognitive or biological psychology and clinically investigate these riveting phenomena.
So, how can you enjoy mental stimulation? Interestingly, you can explore any activity that energizes and fascinates your mind. For instance, jigsaw puzzles, word searches, language courses, a fascinating book, or math problems can be examples of such activities. It’s different for everyone. Artistically inclined people enjoy crafts and painting, while book nerds would rather curl up with a good read.
Pump up the Heart Rate
Physical exercise is instrumental in regulating and enhancing the health of the mind and body. Research reveals that exercising bodily muscle groups stimulates and relaxes the mind. We’ve all heard the tale about runner’s high and how exercise stimulates the production of endorphins – the brain’s feel-good hormones.
Exercise stimulates the increase of endorphins and serotonin, two vital neurotransmitters that regulate our mood, happiness, and overall wellbeing. The increase in these neurotransmitters allows the brain to relax, unwind and recharge its self-healing mechanisms to prevent harm. Exercise also boosts cognitive health by pumping more blood to the thought-regulating region of the brain.
Regular workouts stimulate the development of new nerve cells and boosting brain synapses. In simpler words, exercise makes the brain more adaptive, resilient, and efficient by enhancing memory and cognitive performance. Physical exertion also regulates blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, which curbs stress and anxiety.
A Brain-Healthy Diet
The brain and body require essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to recharge, recuperate and rejuvenate. When deprived of critical nutrients, the mind and body become increasingly vulnerable to chronic illnesses and cognitive risk factors.
How can you adopt a brain-healthy diet? Most nutrients that are healthy for the mind also stimulate growth and healing throughout the body. It’s ideal for creating a healthy balance of vegetables and fruits, whole grains, and nuts. Be sure to add protein-rich sources, such as eggs and chicken, with balanced portions of calcium and dairy. Plant-based sources of protein are highly effective at reducing the risk factors of dementia and cognitive decline.
Omega-three fatty acids, found in fatty fish, nuts, and flaxseeds, are powerful nutrients to regulate and enhance brain health. It helps boost healthy brain cell growth and memory retention, alongside preventing deterioration.
Avoid Heavy Drinking
Alcohol abuse and heavy drinking are a leading cause of dementia and cognitive decline, and alcohol disrupts the brain’s neurotransmitter balance and cell production. It gives rise to the risk factors of memory loss and dementia, alongside setting the stage for rapid deterioration.
Heavy drinking can compromise memory and cognitive capacity, and over time, result in significant brain damage. It’s crucial to avoid heavy drinking and make a habit of drinking occasionally. If you struggle to maintain a healthy balance, consider leaving alcohol for a while and seek support from a professional counselor.
Drinking occasionally at special events is perfectly normal but drinking yourself to sleep each night is a toxic pattern.
Are you looking after your mental and physical wellbeing? The brain and body are profoundly and complexly connected. Complications, illnesses, and trauma that impact the brain also affect the body and vice versa. If you’re dealing with insomnia, sleeplessness, depression, or physical exhaustion, both your body and brain will suffer the ramifications.
Mental health has a profound impact on brain health. It’s crucial to look after your emotional and physical wellbeing and adopt constructive, mindful, and healthy habits. It’s essential to reach out to your family and friends and seek professional help when you feel vulnerable. Emotional distress can also compromise the integrity and cognitive functioning of your brain.