Most of us know the importance of keeping our body fit and active, but do you know how to keep your brain healthy? Our brains thrive best when they are stimulated, so engaging activities and a nutritious diet can significantly improve brain performance.
Although it may not seem particularly engaging, if you’re wondering how to relax your mind, meditation may be a great place to start. Taking five minutes to let your mind rest, accompanied by slowed breathing, can decrease stress and anxiety levels. Also, the benefits of regular meditation include an increased attention span and reduced age-related memory loss.
Learn a new language
Learning a new language may seem daunting and time-consuming. However, spending a few minutes a day memorising some words and phrases from another language can help build a sharper memory and help you increase your attention span. If you’re especially ambitious, becoming bilingual may help you think creatively and innovatively and even delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
Switch up your routine
Find yourself driving to work on autopilot? Try changing up your commute by hopping on public transport. Studies showed reduced stress for employees when they opted for bus and train to work rather than driving. The opportunity to read or socialise can improve productivity and motivation. Cycling to work has also been shown to improve your mood.
Listen to music
We’ve all felt the joy of listening to our favourite songs. Now, research has shown listening to music can help improve your ability to memorise information. Furthermore, using music as a reward after learning can help you motivative yourself to study.
Hailed a superfood, blueberries are rich in anthocyanins. These compounds, responsible for the distinctive colour of berries, have very high antioxidant levels. Oxidative stress can accelerate your brain’s ageing process, negatively impacting brain performance. Antioxidants ward off free radicals, which are responsible for oxidative stress. A long-term study of 16,000 older individuals showed that blueberries, as well as strawberries, helped delay mental ageing by up to 2.5 years.
Turmeric, the mustard-coloured spice used in curry, may have benefits for the brain. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can cross the blood-brain barrier to benefit the cells within the brain. Also an antioxidant, curcumin has been shown to increase memory power among Alzheimer’s patients. It can also boost serotonin and dopamine levels, both of which can improve mood. In addition, early research shows that curcumin can also boost a hormone that helps brain cells grow, and therefore could slow age-related mental decline.
Read more: 5 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric
Not only is it a low-calorie fibre source, but broccoli is also one of many vegetables high in antioxidants and Vitamin K. Studies in older people have suggested higher vitamin K intake contributes to improved memory and cognitive ability. One study measured that participants who ate one to two servings of green leafy vegetables like broccoli each day had the cognitive ability of a person a decade younger, compared to participants who ate none.
No single food or activity can make you a genius. However, a combination of stimulation and a nutrient-rich diet can help you maintain focus and cognitive ability. Importantly, prioritising your mind in this way can help protect against cognitive decline in later life and slow the onset of diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
You must not rely on the information on this blog as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or therapist. If you have any specific concerns about your mental or physical health, you should consult your doctor and you should not delay seeking medical advice, or treatment for your mental health, because of the information on this blog.