How to Improve Brain Function – 12 Things to Think About
We know that to fuel our bodies, we should eat nutritious, vitamin-rich food. We know that to keep our bodies in shape, we should be active for at least 30 minutes a day. But what do we do to keep our brains healthy?
Parents and guardians are sticklers for phrases like “too much screen time will fry your brain” and “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” – but are they right? Are there factors and activities we should limit or avoid to keep brain function at its peak?
The Human Brain
The brain is amazing – did you know that a human brain has around 86 billion neurons, billions of nerve fibres and trillions of connections, known as synapses?
From the minute we are born, our brain is constantly changing, adapting and learning, helping us to analyse and understand our environment in a seemingly endless number of ways.
However, as we age, our mental function may begin to slow down, which might be as simple as experiencing forgetfulness from time to time, or taking longer to come up with solutions to problems.
We have 12 top tips on how to improve brain function and health to keep you at the top of your brain game for years to come.
1. Stimulate that Brain
One of the best ways to keep your brain sharp is to keep it stimulated through reading, brain games, word puzzles or math problems. You can even stimulate your brain by being creative with drawing and painting, or by learning a new language or instrument.
By giving your brain a work out, you help to use and develop new brain pathways, which may increase your short-term memory, working memory, concentration and problem solving abilities.
2. Get Active
Staying mentally healthy can be helped by staying physically healthy. When you participate in physical exercise, your body increases blood flow, which means your brain receives more oxygen and glucose.
Getting active also promotes the production of three essential growth factors in the brain, which work to improve your brain health.
3. Improve your Diet
Food does more than just fuel our body day-to-day; it can also have a significant impact on brain function.
There are certain foods that have been shown to boost brain function, such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in oily fish, foods packed with antioxidants, such as colourful fruits and vegetables, healthy fats from avocados, and proteins found in eggs, almonds and meats.
You can boost your daily vitamin and nutrient intake with Clean Drinks Co’s new superfood formula, which is formulated with 12 natural ingredients to create a powerful formula that supports mental clarity, improves concentration and promotes increased energy.
Keeping your diet in check by consuming plenty of antioxidants, low sugar and an abundance of nutrients will also help to control cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure in your body.
4. Get Enough Sleep
When work and life get busy, catching a healthy dose of zzz’s each night seems to take a back seat. But it is important that you aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night for the brain to perform well the next day.
During sleep, your brain is still working to consolidate memories. Without a good night of sleep, the grey-matter in your frontal lobe may be impacted, which can compromise your memory, problem-solving abilities, creativity and critical thinking!
5. Limit your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol can have toxic effects on your body, which not only place you at risk of a range of alcohol-related accidents and preventable diseases; it can also severely impair your cognitive function.
Occasional and moderate drinkers may experience memory impairment, impaired decision making and blackout, while heavy or chronic drinkers may experience a shortened attention span, memory loss and an inability to think abstractly.
6. Manage your Stress and Mental Health
Hakuna Matata! Life can get a little overwhelming at times, and our poor brain has to deal with each stressful event we experience on a daily basis!
Keeping your stress levels low and caring for your mental health is so important to your overall brain health, as chronic stress has been shown to destroy brain cells and result in memory loss.
Take a moment to meditate, set a better balance between work and leisure time and do things that make you happy, like seeing friends, being creative or being active.
7. Build a Social Network
We’re not saying to build the next Facebook or Instagram, we mean you should actually get out into the world and build up a healthy support network of friends, colleagues and family who you can socialise with.
Friends not only support you throughout your endeavours, they can also challenge your thinking, provide you with a different perspective on life, help to improve your memory and can generally help to boost your mood!
8. Protect your Head from Injury
If you play any contact sports, particularly like AFL or rugby, you need to do your best to protect your head from potential injury.
It isn’t just concussion that can affect brain function - that moderate bump to the head or rough high tackle can also lead to cognitive impairment.
9. Improve your Cholesterol Levels
In the body, there are two types of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol, with low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol being the bad type of the two, while high-density lipoprotein (HDL) absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver for detoxing.
High levels of LDL cholesterol in the body are known to increase the risk of stroke and dementia, and may also be associated with causing Alzheimer’s disease.
10. Identify and Treat Any Health Issues
An underlying health problem may be impacting your cognitive function and you don’t even know it.
It is important to keep your cholesterol, blood sugar and blood pressure in check, as all these markers can alert you to other health problems and ultimately, result in impaired brain function.
For example, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can have a severe impact on brain function, as the brain is sensitive to the amount of glucose it receives. Over time, uncontrolled diabetes may result in problems such as dementia.
11. Avoid Tobacco
Over time, the negative impacts of tobacco smoking are becoming increasingly clearer.
A study published in 2010 found that people who smoked had an increased risk of developing dementia when they aged, with those who smoked more than two packs of cigarettes a day twice as likely to develop dementia. Even those who smoked at the lowest level had a 37 per cent increased risk of developing dementia.
Take a moment to pause and meditate today – not only is meditation a relaxing exercise that can help to lower stress levels, it may also increase the grey matter in your brain, which can improve memory and cognition.
Support Your Health with Clean Drinks Co.
There are a variety of ways you can support and boost your brain function, from effectively managing your stress levels to improving your diet.
If you’re looking for a blend of nutrients to benefit your body and mind, it is worthwhile investing in a quality superfood blend, like the Bright & Green blend from Clean Drinks Co.
Check out our Bright & Green superfood blend today to see how our powerful organic greens formula can support your overall health and wellbeing while boosting your brain function!