How to keep your brain healthy

By Dr Mike Edgley

Recently in the clinic, there has been a significant increase in number of people reporting brain- related symptoms, such as forgetfulness, fatigue and brain fog.

Our brains are designed to be stimulated, and as we hopefully head towards an easing in COVID restrictions, here are a few tips on how you can keep your brain stimulated and healthy long-term.

As we age, our brains may struggle to fire on all cylinders and keep up with us. Some of the most familiar examples of this are frequent forgetfulness, delayed cognitive reactions, and increased confusion.

Often, we might chalk up simple memory slips to “getting older” – accepting a decline in brain function as an inevitable and unavoidable consequence of time, rather than a matter of health. But luckily for us, there are a few key tips to dodging the decline and keeping a healthy and active brain, and they’re pretty easy!

Exercising your brain regularly

It’s very tempting to slump in front of your television or computer with some favourite snacks after a long day. But, switching on can lead to your brain switching off due to a lack of proper stimulation.

Our brain is a muscle and it needs exercise! Solving puzzles, reading books, cooking some- thing from a recipe – these are all super-simple ways to stimulate your brain and keep it active to keep it healthy. Exercising your brain helps it to grow new cells and improve and develop new neural connections that may have been lost to physical trauma, inactivity, substance abuse, or a stroke.

Exercising your body

You guessed it! Regular exercise is great for many things, and keeping a healthy brain is one of the top benefits. Regular daily exercise helps improve cardiovascular circulation and stimu- late the brain to grow new neurons. It also helps to decrease the risk of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease – both of which can have devastating and permanent effects on the brain.

Try to work in 20 to 30 minutes of daily exer- cise to keep your body and mind moving!

Get proper rest

While we’re sleeping, our brains are work- ing away at sorting, processing, and retaining the day’s events. This hugely-important pro- cess impacts key functions such as memory retention, cognitive function, and regulating our emotions.

Make sure you get adequate sleep every night by sticking to a routine, or addressing the issues affecting your ability to get quality rest.

Get social

Humans are naturally social creatures, and many studies have indicated a link between keeping good quality social connections and keeping strong brain cells. Social interactions help enrich our life experience, learn from others, and maintain good mental health hygiene.

Maintain a healthy diet

It’s no surprise that keeping a healthy diet will help to keep a healthy brain. When it comes to brain health and your eating habits, balance is key. Your body and brain need a balanced combination of proteins, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other vital nutrients that all come from your food.

By ensuring you’re maintaining a well-balanced and considered diet, you’re safeguarding your brain’s health and helping it to thrive over time instead of decline.

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