How healthy is your brain?

People are living longer than any other time in history. Major nutritional and medical advancements have been made to help keep the body physically healthy. While this increase reflects positive improvements in health care, it has led to an increase in the wear and tear on our bodies, including our brains. 

Scientists estimate we lose between 30,000 and 50,000 brain cells every single day. This leads not only to common occurrences like the misplacement of car keys and reading glasses, but difficulty with management of our time and household tasks. 

Caring for our brain requires an understanding of its needs. The brain is a demanding organ. Despite comprising just 2% of the average adult body weight, the brain requires 20% of the body’s energy and up to 25% of the heart’s blood flow. Feeding your brain the right nutrients becomes more important as we age. 

  1. Eat the right kind of fat. The brain and nervous system are comprised of 60% fat, so ensure your diet is rich in the Omega 3 essential fatty acids found in cold water fish and flax oil. 
  2. Drink plenty of water. Consuming 8-12 glasses per day will help keep skin looking healthier, regulates body temperature and helps in digestion. Tea, coffee and soft drinks don’t count. These will actually dehydrate you. If you want to feel better, drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. You can’t live without it! 
  3. Eat your vegetables. Research has found health benefits associates with eating broccoli and other cruciferous veggies (like cabbage, turnips, cauliflower and kale). 

Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of brain health, but it isn’t the only way to a better memory. There are also many lifestyle changes that can also improve brain health. 

  • Physical exercise - Consistent, low stress workouts, like a brisk walk a few times a week or yoga is excellent. Gardening or other everyday activities promote good brain health by helping to maintain fine motor skills and concentration. 
  • Mental exercise - Directly stimulating your brain with crossword puzzles, word games and math problems is not only fun, but also strengthens connections within your brain. Scientific evidence is showing that you can fight aging by challenging your mind. 
  • Regular health check-ups - To be aware of your body and your mental health is the first step to maintaining a healthy brain. Brainstorm offers a range of neurological tests and treatments to assist brain based dysfunction. 
  • Embrace technology - balance it with real life interactions. New technologies allow people to learn about a certain topic or communicate with a variety of people. Networks of people can learn to collaborate globally and may help you build a sense of community. Multi-tasking involves that part of the brain that governs social and reasoning behaviour. Use social technologies as a planning tool or to join a local group. Interacting with people face-to-face is a great way to keep your brain sharp. 
  • Engage with people - Actively engaging with others requires using different regions of the brain. The unpredictability of conversation requires attention in order to follow along and contribute to a dialogue. 
  • Find something to love - Having love in your life is in itself a source of energy – helping provide reason, purpose, and direction. You will be making the most of the positives and dealing firmly with life’s challenges.

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How healthy is your brain?