What best ways to keep your brain healthy, intelligent, and sharp?

what best way to keep your brain healthy

If you read this because you are curious to get more knowledge or apply concepts you learn to better your own life, then You’re in luck—because there isn’t only one method to keep our brand sharp and healthy. We have curated the best content from the world’s best in both medical information content provider WebMD, experts, and some of the world’s best information providers for wellness and long life on the best ways to keep your brain healthy, intelligent and sharp. Science proves that a healthy lifestyle can significantly affect the health and functionality of the brain and avoid risks such as dementia later in life. The brain scan of a 70-year-old looks similar to those of a 20-30-year-old

We must also be careful to understand that the first step is to make our brains healthy, just like our health, and then finally, we can now make them more intelligent by the kind of work we put into and expect. For this article, we will start with the activities that will mostly make our brains healthier and end with those that make our brains smarter.

Having a healthy brain is critical.

Many powerful techniques improve concentration, boost focus, and positively affect our brain function. There is no easy method; you must practice it over time. After reading this, try out which ways you can practice and sustain; if you have time, a little experimentation that works best for you is advised, then practice the technique regularly to achieve results. 

It is interesting to note that aging alone is not the cause of memory decline because it can happen at any age; when such decline happens in older people, it is not because of aging mainly, but due to other organic disorders, brain injury, or illness affecting the brain area studies have helped us to understand that we can adopt certain healthy habits that could be beneficial to our brains.

  • staying physically active such as exercising 
  • getting enough sleep adults should sleep for 8 hours
  • not smoking
  • having good social connections
  • limiting alcohol to no more than one drink a day
  • eating a Mediterranean-style diet.

1. Keep learning, and if you can keep teaching what you learn

Education is important because a higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in old age. Experts think advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person into an active mental habit. It is vital to challeng s your brain with mental exercises to activate processes that helps it maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication among them. Taking jobs that keep us mentally active. Pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, volunteering, or mentoring are additional ways to keep our minds sharp. For example, learning a new skill is fun and exciting and may help create strong connections in our brains.

Learning a new skill is not only fun and exciting, but it may also help strengthen the connections in your brain. Learning a new skill in adults can help improve our memory functions. Learning a new skill can be very profitable and life enhancing, such as learning to code new software; know from today that while you are learning a new skill, you are inadvertently benefiting your brain. Another strategic way to keep your brains active and increase your learned knowledge is by teaching that skill to another person. Teaching could be a subtle way of practicing what you have learned, thereby consolidating the learning. Come to think of it, when you conduct a new concept to someone, and you want to teach it correctly and make corrections in areas you do not have a deep understanding.

2, Socialise more

Whether you are lonely or socially isolated, it is a dilemma that must be avoided or brought to a minimum at all costs. Loneliness and social isolation are different situations; however, they are related. Loneliness is the feeling of being alone or separated; it can be distressing, while Social isolation is the lack of social contacts and having few people to interact with regularly. We can live alone and not feel lonely or socially isolated, and we can feel lonely while with other people. Older people have a higher risk of being lonely or socially isolated because of the changes in their health and social interactions, which comes majorly due to getting older. It is essential to have social connections because it increases dementia risk by 50%” in older adults; hence it is good to have a crew of companions; having a few close friends can be even more helpful and sufficient. Instead of seeking as many friends as possible, focus on building the social circles that satisfy your individual needs, like spending more time with neighbors. Volunteering at a community center can help us create good immunity for our brains.

If socializing in person isn’t possible, it may help to connect with others online. Social media is one way to help elevate the cognitive power of our brains in old age. In one study published in 2017 in the Journals of Gerontology, after seniors learned to use Facebook, they scored higher on memory tests than older adults who didn’t use Facebook.

3. Use all your senses, Practice relaxation, and meditation

When we learn something with more of our sensory organs, the better at retaining and recalling it in the future; this means more of our brain is involved in processing that learning. In one study, researchers showed adults a series of emotionally neutral images, each presented with a smell. They were not asked to remember what they saw. Later, they were offered a set of pictures without odors and asked to indicate which they’d seen before. They had excellent recall for all odor-paired images, especially those associated with pleasant smells. The subjects hadn’t tried to remember them. Brain imaging revealed that the piriform cortex, the central odor-processing region of the brain, became active when people saw objects originally paired with odors, even though the smells were no longer present. So challenge all your senses as you venture into the unfamiliar. 

Stress is a natural part of life, making it a good thing; manageable stress that challenges, motivates, and helps you grow supports brain health. But relaxation is equally important. Studies by Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School, show that brain regions involved in focus and attention are thicker in people who practice meditation. Music is another excellent de-stressor, partly because it can be performed and listened to with friends, which could maximize its effect on cognitive longevity.

One way relaxation aids mental sharpness is that it contributes to a good night’s rest says Lock. Deep sleep is critical for storing and consolidating memories, studies suggest. It starts to decline during young adulthood and continues to do so as people age, and adults who sleep poorly over the years are more likely to suffer symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. But simple routines can improve sleep at any age, such as limiting food and drink three hours before bedtime, maintaining the same sleep schedule, and not looking at smartphones or other electronics in the bedroom. Also, daily meditation can calm your body, slow your breathing, and reduce stress and anxiety.

But did you know that it may also help fine-tune your memory and increase your brain’s ability to process information?

To understand and enjoy the full benefit of medication, as a beginner, find a quiet spot, close your eyes, and spend five minutes meditating each day; when you begin to enjoy its benefit start increasing the time you meditate.

4. ​​Exercise daily

As our body ages, one of the best ways to keep it young is to stay physically active. It applies to the brain. Exercising increases a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), vital for growing and keeping neurons. Exercise also helps prevent brain inflammation, among other benefits. It is crucial to strive for 150 minutes of aerobic workouts and one to two days of strength training each week.

The benefits may increase if you mix exercise with other healthy strategies. Try adding a cognitive challenge—like playing sports or dancing, which combines a cardio workout, music, socializing, and remembering the steps. Likewise, yoga may benefit brain health because it combines meditation with movement, says Lazar.

Exercising outdoors in fresh air may provide additional benefits. Taking in greenery and natural light assists brain health by reducing stress and increasing melatonin for a more regular sleep-wake cycle.

5. Eat healthy, especially for the brain.

After exercising, choose a brain-healthy recovery meal. Most pundits in brain research prescribe the Mediterranean diet in his study. Researcher Dr. Nikolaos Scarmeas, associate professor of neurology at Columbia University, found that the more closely adults followed a Mediterranean diet—having fish and plant-based foods such as fruit, vegetables, nuts, and olive oil while limiting red meat—the more their risk for Alzheimer’s disease dropped. The strictest followers cut their risk by 40%.

“Other diets haven’t been explored as extensively,” says Scarmeas. “There’s more evidence for the Mediterranean pattern so far.” Another eating plan that scientists are currently exploring is the MIND diet, a twist on the Mediterranean approach that further prioritizes foods that may be important for brain health, such as berries and green, leafy vegetables. These diets may protect the brain by improving cardiovascular health; lowering blood pressure has been linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. And Scarmeas noted that eating a Mediterranean diet can change the composition of people’s microbiome, a collection of trillions of bacteria that live in the gut and influence the health of many body parts.

6. Believing in yourself and pursuing a purpose 

Myths about aging can contribute to a failing memory. Middle-aged and older learners do worse on memory tasks when exposed to negative stereotypes about aging and memory and better when the messages are positive about memory preservation into old age. People who believe they are not in control of their memory function — joking about “senior moments” too often, perhaps — are less likely to work at maintaining or improving their memory skills and therefore are more likely to experience cognitive decline. If you believe you can improve and translate that belief into practice, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp. Also, Having a goal-driven purpose in life is associated with a 30% reduction in dementia, independent of other aspects of well-being. Having a goal-driven purpose in life is associated with a 30% reduction in dementia, independent of different parts of well-being, according to one 2017 study by Sutin, the Florida State University psychologist. “It’s so protective because it leads to meaningful engagement,” she explains. Socializing is one way to keep the mind engaged. Still, engagement can take many forms—whether writing a novel, caring for someone in need, pursuing a satisfying job into your 80s, getting into exercise, or practicing an enriching hobby. It’s highly individual. “What’s purposeful to one person might be trivial to another,” says Sutin.

Chasing your “life’s purpose” may seem like the privilege of a lucky few. But Sutin’s research suggests that cultivating a sense of purpose contributes to brain health regardless of income, wealth, or education. Plenty of activities can increase one’s understanding of it. “Do what you love,” Lock says. “Do more of it more deeply.”

7. Always consciously use your brain use

Suppose you don’t need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter’s birthday party. In that case, you’ll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and vital things. Take advantage of intelligent phone reminders, calendars and planners, maps, shopping lists, file folders, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often. Some of the methods to keep your brain engaged are 

Learning a new language A 2012 research has proven the many cognitive benefits of being able to speak more than one language.

According to numerous studies, bilingualism can contribute to better memory, improved visual-spatial skills, and higher levels of creativity. Fluency in more than one language may also help you switch more easily between different tasks and delay the onset of age-related mental decline.

The good news is that it’s never too late to reap the rewards of learning a new language. According to researchers, you can boost your memory and improve other mental functions by becoming a new language student at any time in your life.

Have fun also with jigsaw puzzles Research has shown that doing jigsaw puzzles recruits multiple cognitive abilities and is a protective factor for visuospatial cognitive aging. In other words, when putting together a jigsaw puzzle, you must look at different pieces and figure out where they fit within the larger picture. This can be a great way to challenge and exercise your brain.

Build your vocabulary Research shows that many more brain regions are involved in vocabulary tasks, particularly in areas that are important for visual and auditory processing. You can try this by keeping a notebook with you when you read, write down words you are unfamiliar with, then look up the definition and see if you can use that word like five times a day.

8. Repeat what you want to know

Repeat it out loud or write it down when you want to remember something you’ve just heard, read, or thought about. For example, if you’ve just been told someone’s name, use it when you speak with them: “So, John, where did you meet Camille?” That way, you reinforce the memory or connection.

Repetition is most potent as a learning tool when it’s properly timed. It’s best not to repeat something repeatedly in a short period, as if you were cramming for an exam. Instead, re-study the essentials after increasingly more extended periods — once an hour, every few hours, then every day. Spacing out periods of study helps improve memory and is particularly valuable when trying to master complicated information, such as the details of a new work assignment.

Brain health is essential to take care of because it is critical to your overall health. Because the brain controls so much of daily function, it is arguably the single most valuable organ in the human body. It underlies our ability to communicate, make decisions, solve problems and live a productive and useful life. Suppose you need a happy life. Take care of your brain.

Naijateck is Nigeria’s information and communication portal for technology news and information

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