Weighing only 1.5 kilograms (approx.), the brain is the root of human intelligence. This walnut-shaped organ works like a computer processing the information received from the body and sending messages back to the body. But it is the emotions and thinking capability that add invaluable worth to this tiny organ making it very different from a computer. Young or old, you need to protect your brain health. It might be to sharpen your intelligence quotient in the case of young people or prevent conditions like dementia in the case of old people. Like the muscles and bones in the body that need exercise to stay fit, your brain needs physical as well as mental workouts to stay in shape.
Numerous studies have linked increased exercise routines with decreased rate of dementia. Living an active life is the best present you can gift yourself and your loved ones. Regular cardiovascular exercise increases heart rate and blood flow to the brain and body. Even yoga or swimming can boost brain functionality.
Save your Heart
Risk factors (obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes) for heart disease and stroke affect brain health too. When you take care to keep these risk factors under control, you can be sure of a safe heart and a safe brain.
Stay Connected with the Society
Reading makes you think. Thinking activates your brain. Read a book, magazine or join any course you are interested to pursue. There is no age limit to learn. Education at any stage can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. You can even have a friendly chat with your friends, discuss latest news and review a movie together. Conversations trigger thinking as you are forced to consider what you say or do. Being among people reduces the time you spend in isolation or depression, both of which are associated with lower brain function.
Be a part of an NGO, join a local choir if you love singing or help students after school in their academics if you love teaching. Involve yourself in whatever interests you to stay socially connected and improve brain health.
Play Games & Solve Puzzles
Practice any hobby that interests and challenges you. Chess is a game of brains and playing chess triggers your cognitive abilities. You can even solve a sudoku, a jigsaw puzzle or do something artistic to activate brain cells. There is nothing wrong in winning or losing. What you gain are long-term benefits on your brain health.
Don’t be Depressed
Certain studies reveal that depression is associated with reduced cognitive functionality. Never hesitate to ask help if in case you suffer from depression, anxiety or other mental concerns. Stay away from stress as much as possible.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Sleep has become the least important thing in our lives nowadays. Most adults don’t get the required amount of sleep (6 to 8 hours) every night and suffer from poor brain functionality every now and then. Insufficient sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea can end up in memory-related problems.
Eat a Balanced Diet
Eat a balanced diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and dairy with restricted intake of added sugars, sodium and unhealthy fats to avoid cognitive decline. Vitamin D is said to be associated with brain health. Get a healthy dose of sunlight and eat vitamin D-rich foods to pump up vitamin D levels in your body. To be completely assured of a healthy diet plan, you can get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com who can plan an individualized diet plan suiting your requirements.
Smoking is associated with increased risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce this risk.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.