The Pillars of Brain Health

Caring for the brain is extremely important as it is the most important organ in our lives. It regulates our quality of life and a healthy brain can ensure personal wellness. There are around six main pillars of caring for brain health. Those six pillars include physical exercise, nutrition, medical health, sleep and relaxation, mental fitness, and social interaction.

Physical exercise can help with maintaining a healthy weight, keeping bones and the brain healthy, and reduce the risk of heart disease or cancer. It is important to note that some exercise is better than no exercise. Regular exercise can generate brain cell growth and make vital changes to the brain. It has been found that regular exercise can boost the size of the hippocampus. This is extremely important as the hippocampus is involved in verbal memory, learning, and thinking. Ultimately, exercise plays a role in the health of brain cells, the production of new blood vessels in the brain, and maintains optimal health of current brain cells.

Nutrition also plays a vital role in brain health. Some research supports the Mediterranean diet as it is rich in whole grains, greens, fish, healthy fats, and nuts. All of those foods can keep the brain healthy and reduce the likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease. It has also been found that foods high in saturated fats (red meat, butter, and other dairy products) can cause the development of neurodegenerative diseases to progress further. As always, fruits and veggies are extremely important for a healthy body. Leafy green vegetables and berries are exceptionally rich in brain health nutrients as they can slow down aging. Dark chocolate can increase the blood flow to the brain and decrease inflammation. Spices like ginger and turmeric can also decrease potentially harmful inflammation in the brain.

It is always important to get an annual checkup done in order to ensure that there are no imminent risks. Following the other 5 pillars of brain health can help keep blood pressure and body weight at a normal and healthy level. It is important to take supplements or medications as prescribed, cut down on things like processed food and sugar, and to stay active.

Cutting down stress leads to more sleep and relaxation. A healthy amount of sleep and relaxation cuts down the risk of depression, sharpens memory, manages stress, and allows the brain to stay in tip-top shape. It can be hard to destress, but it is important to think positively and allow events to unfold naturally instead of reliving it twice and being consumed with anxiety. It can also help to focus on the specific problem at hand.

Mental fitness can be improved by studying or learning a new hobby or task as it can fight mental decline. Listening to music while working out, playing an instrument, or finding some form of art that is appealing can improve mental fitness. Crossword puzzles, chess, card games, or online brain games can also help maintain a quick reaction time and it can improve the ability to solve problems

Finally, social interaction has many benefits. It is a source of support, can combat depression, cut down stress, and slow down age-related cognitive impairment. Pets can also provide the benefits of social interaction as they boost immunity, keep us active, calm us, and improve our social lives.

Resources:

https://healthybrains.org/pillars/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/regular-exercise-changes-brain-improve-memory-thinking-skills-201404097110