Everything we do flows from our brains: our memory, ability to learn and focus, sense of self and consciousness, and the center of all our thoughts.
Our brains process 70,000 thoughts per day, through 100 billion neurons that connect 500 trillion points through synapses, traveling 300 miles per hour, all while generating enough electricity to power a lightbulb (learn more brain facts from the Cleveland Clinic here). With all that hard work, don’t they deserve some extra care and attention?
It’s time to maximize our brain health and in doing so, our overall wellness by incorporating these brain-healthy lifestyle habits.
Understand the risks of Alzheimer's and dementia
Now more than ever, dementia has become a significant problem. The World Alzheimer's Report predicts that the number of cases of the disease will reach as high as 65.7 million by 2030. Currently in the United States, 5 million people are living with Alzheimer's.
Alzheimer's affects the brain by destroying neurons, therefore disturbing the critical processes of neuronal communication, metabolism, and repair. While the largest risk factors are family history and genetics, we can act in other ways to help reduce any risk. Keeping our blood sugar at a healthy level is key, as diabetes is a risk factor associated with Alzheimer's. Participating in exercise in order to increase oxygen flow to the brain, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level, engaging in an active social life, and abiding by a healthy diet are all important ways for us to live a healthy lifestyle while mitigating potential hurtful factors associated with the disease.
Keep up your cardiovascular health
You might be more familiar with the benefits of maintaining cardiovascular fitness for heart health, but it is actually just as beneficial for the brain. Unhealthy cardiovascular habits can lead to negative consequences for the brain and beyond. There’s a type of dementia known as “vascular dementia” that occurs as a result of a series of small strokes. What seem risks for heart disease and stroke, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stiff arteries, and diabetes, also present serious risks to the brain that can affect our ability to process thoughts. Eating a heart and brain healthy diet, exercising frequently, and reducing stress are all steps we can take to boost our cardiovascular health and, in turn, our brain health.
Practice mental fitness
We all know how critical is to get up and get moving each day. But what about keeping our brains sharp? Ensuring that we maintain our mental fitness to keep our brains healthy and agile as long as we can is just as important as that spin class you’re taking or the jog you take every morning. We can encourage our brains to learn new skills to encourage the brain’s resilience and ability to adapt and respond to changes (this is what is called neuroplasticity, and you can learn more about it here). Whether it’s practicing brain teasers, learning a new sport or instrument, or picking up a new hobby are all great ways to encourage the brain’s longevity. Another critical component to mental fitness? Maintaining a healthy social life. Staying connected with people you love provides a source of support, a reduction in stress, and enhances our intellectual stimulation. Try taking a group fitness class, joining a book club, or get involved with a volunteering course (bonus: those who remain engaged through volunteering are shown to be happier and healthier overall).
Get quality sleep and relaxation
Something we take very seriously at Liveli, getting sleep and taking time to relax are essential to a healthy brain. It’s a common trend, particularly with Americans, to forgo the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night to get ahead of the curve at work, take care of tasks, and maintain any and all sorts of productivity. However, doing so is actually much worse for productivity levels and overall brain health and wellness. Taking the time to get a quality night’s sleep helps us work faster and more accurately throughout the next day and helps us to avoid any dreaded brain fog. When we sleep, our neurons are able to repair to ensure sharpness the next day and long term (curious about how our brain works at night? Read this). Key to our good night’s sleep? Making sure our brains have the proper nutrients they need to ensure restful and productive sleep through our nightly dose of Sleep Peacefulli. Additionally, if we are stressed and overworked, our brains will not work as clearly as they should. Taking time for short breaks throughout the work day, saying “no” to projects or commitments that provide more stress than they are worth, and allowing yourself to take a little R&R at least once a week are key to a healthier, happier, and more productive brain.
Eat a brain-healthy diet
A healthy diet leads to a healthy brain with less risk of Alzheimer's and dementia. Cutting out foods high in saturated fats and sugars is the first step in moving towards a healthy diet that supports a healthy brain and lifestyle. Another key to a healthier diet is limiting red meat while increasing our intake of fish (rich in omega-3 fatty acids, contained in Restore Dayli. Moving towards a more Mediterranean diet has actually been shown to have potential lasting effects on brain health — by increasing our intake of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and beans, we can help protect our brains from many of the risks associated with Alzheimers and improve overall cognitive function. Want to incorporate some of our favorite brain healthy foods into your diet? Check it out here.
Brain health is important at any age. Besides taking your Liveli, how do you care for your brain? Tell us!