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5 ways to love your brain

It’s never too early or too late, to start protecting your brain and mind! Elf Day (6th December 2023) is a day designed for the Alzheimer’s Society in a bid to raise money, awareness, and support for those battling Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. These conditions hit close to home for many of us, not only affecting the individuals directly facing them but also rippling through the lives of their loved ones.

While medical research delves deeper into understanding and combating these conditions; lifestyle and diet play pivotal roles in supporting your brain health. Your brain is involved in everything you do, and, it needs to be cared for and protected, like any other body part.

You can read more and take part in this festive fundraiser on the Alzheimer’s Society website.

1. Nutrition as nourishment

A balanced diet is fundamental to overall health, including brain function. Following a gut-healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can be immensely beneficial. Certain diets, like the Mediterranean Diet and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.1https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain Foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and nuts, can help combat oxidative stress, which is linked to cognitive decline.

Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon, walnuts, and flaxseeds are crucial for brain health. These fatty acids contribute to building and maintaining healthy brain cells, reducing inflammation, and supporting overall cognitive function.

2. Break a sweat

Physical activity isn’t solely beneficial for the body, it also supports brain health. Engaging in regular exercise promotes blood flow to the brain2https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain, stimulating the growth of new brain cells and fostering connections between them. It can enhance memory, cognitive function, and overall mental well-being. Activities like dancing, which combine physical movement with mental engagement, are particularly beneficial. The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control highlights that learning new dance moves can enhance your brain’s memory and processing speed.3https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/brain-exercises#dance So get yourself booked into a class or load up an online tutorial, and dance your heart out!

3. Quality sleep

Sleep is vital for brain health and cognitive function. It is essential for learning, concentration, creating memories, clearing toxins, response times, problem-solving, creativity, and communication between nerve cells (neurons).4https://www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/public-education/brain-basics/brain-basics-understanding-sleep#:~:text=Without%20sleep%20you%20can’t,neurons)%20communicate%20with%20each%20other.5https://www.healthline.com/health/why-do-we-sleep#brain-function Prioritise getting quality sleep by establishing a regular sleep schedule, creating a relaxing bedtime routine, and ensuring a comfortable sleep environment. Quality sleep is a cornerstone of overall health and can significantly impact brain health and function.

4. Manage stress

Chronic stress can negatively impact brain health, not to mention your gut health. Finding effective stress management techniques, such as meditation, yoga, tai chi, or deep breathing exercises, can protect the brain from the damaging effects of stress.6https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/brain-exercises#try-a-new-route Slowing down and taking a breath can be challenging in today’s busy society, so if you need some help here, check out Calm the chaos: 9 tips for coping with stress and Adapting to stress with Ashwagandha.

5. Mental stimulation

Engaging in mentally stimulating activities like puzzles, learning new skills, building furniture, artistic hobbies, playing strategic games like bridge, solitaire or sudoku, or engaging in hobbies can help maintain cognitive function and support brain health.7https://www.alz.org/help-support/brain_health/10_ways_to_love_your_brain8https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/brain-exercises#play-cards There are lots of fun ways to challenge and activate your mind, so have fun with this one!

Elf Day is a reminder of the importance and impact of Alzheimer’s and Dementia. While there’s no definitive way to prevent these conditions, incorporating these lifestyle and diet tips can potentially contribute to supporting brain health and overall well-being.

To dive deeper into all things brain health, check out How is your gut connected to your brain? and try our daily Gut-Brain Health Smoothie!

Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.

References

Questions? Talk to a Nutritional Therapist on live chat!

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