A healthy lifestyle can support your brain health. You don’t have to succumb to memory lapses, brain fog or lack of focus. Our brain’s hippocampus, the memory center, regenerates throughout our lifetime provided we give it the right tools. The foods we eat (and the foods we avoid) play an important role in our memory. Some of the healthy foods to include are colorful vegetables and healthy fats, along with avoiding sugar and processed carbohydrates. Proper sleep allows our brain to process our memories and regular exercise improves hormone production and blood flow to our brain. Practicing mindfulness (the opposite of multitasking) reduces stress and allows our brain to focus. If you find yourself trying to complete several tasks at once, mindfully bring your attention back to the task at hand.
Giving your brain new experiences will keep it healthier. As physical exercise is important to the muscles in our body, mental exercise is important to keep our brain strong. We must continually challenge our brain with new, surprising information. One way to challenge your brain is with brain games using online websites or apps. One example is a program called Brain HQ which has many different exercises designed to improve brain function.
In his book, Stones of Remembrance, Daniel Amen, MD, (a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist), shares a list of easy exercises to help prevent memory loss and sharpen your mind:
- Play language games like Scrabble, Boggle, and Scattergories, or work crossword puzzles and word-search puzzles.
- Play strategy games like chess, backgammon, dominoes, bridge, or mahjong.
- Play math games like Sudoku or KenKen.
- Memorize poetry, Scripture passages, and famous historical dates.
- Set aside fifteen minutes in your day to learn something new.
- Take a class (a foreign language, cooking, or an art course, for example.) Challenge your brain to learn new things.
- Limit your screen time. Unless you are watching something educational, TV is usually a “no-brain” activity. In fact, studies show that adults who watch two or more hours of TV a day have a significantly higher risk of Alzheimer’s disease than those who don’t.
- Try using your non-dominant hand to write, eat or brush your teeth.
- Expose your brain to new experiences, scents, sights, and people by traveling somewhere you’ve never been before.
- Hang around with smart, interesting people who challenge your ideas and way of thinking.
- Listen to classical music, which research suggests can actually lower your blood pressure and improve your memory and cognitive function.
– Diane Duvall is a Life Coach and Certified Health Coach for the Lifestyle Medicine Practice of Dr. Geni Abraham, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Board Certified Lifestyle Medicine, Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner. Our Internal Medicine Practice is an integrated medical practice with a focus on Lifestyle Medicine to prevent chronic disease and promote health and wellness. Dr. Geni Abraham, Medical Specialists of the Palm Beaches, Inc., 205 JFK Drive, Suite A, Atlantis FL 33462. Phone: (561) 432-8935
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