Keeping our brains healthy is a great way to take care of ourselves; fortunately, what’s good for our bodies is also good for our brains.
The Ontario Brain Institute’s President and Scientific Director, Dr. Tom Mikkelsen, shares 5 tips to help you take charge of your brain health.
- A healthy diet for a healthy brain
We know healthy eating is important for our bodies, but did you know it can also affect your brain?
As we age, keeping a healthy diet can help sustain our cognitive function. This includes eating more fruits and vegetables daily, and foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon. Check out more tips on healthy eating for your brain.
- Exercise is medicine
An active lifestyle can sustain people in their older ages and prevent cognitive decline. When we exercise, the growth factors that our neurons need to survive (neurotrophins) are increased. This helps neurons survive, improves memory, and could even cause new neurons to grow!
Exercise can also help prevent or lessen the impact of several brain disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, stroke, and ADHD.
- Develop good sleep hygiene
Our brains need rest. While we sleep the cells in our brain clear out the trash that has built up during the day. Sleep is also a time for our brains to consolidate memories by strengthening connections between neurons – something especially important for kids who are learning all day. Learn how to create good sleep habits to make sure that the sleep you get is effective.
- Use strategies to manage your stress
Stress is a part of life, but too much (or even too little!) stress can cause distraction. Your brain works less efficiently under too much stress – it can impair your memory or reduce the ability to multi-task. Try some of these strategies to manage stress and see what works for you.
- Use it or lose it
Keeping our brains active is a great way to stave off cognitive decline. Activities that challenge us cognitively, like learning a new language or playing music, help to build new functional connections in our brains. This builds a “cognitive reserve” which increases your brains resiliency as you age.
Use all of these tips to maximize your brain health. Try to incorporate all of these tips as they can have a combined benefit.
Watch Tom’s full interview on 5 tips for maximizing brain health here.