How’s your brain doing? If you haven’t thought much about your brain’s health and wellness, March is a good time to throw it some love: March 16th-22nd is Brain Awareness Week, and that means it’s the perfect time to learn about the steps you can take to make sure your brain stays as healthy as possible.
Our brains are in constant use. All day long, whether we realize it or not, they’re overseeing our thoughts, our emotions, our movements – even our breathing, circulation and organ function. Yet many of us take all this work for granted, rarely taking the critical steps that can help ensure our active brains stay in peak condition for years to come.
This month, we’re helping to get your brain the attention and respect it deserves by offering a few tips that can help you do all you can to preserve the health of your mind:
- Change your diet. Avoid unhealthy fats and sugar-laden snacks, and reach for foods high in omega-3 fatty acids and other healthy fats. Salmon and walnuts are good additions, and so are foods like blueberries that are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage and premature death, and you can find them in deeply-colored fruits and vegetables.
- Be more active. Physical activity helps improve circulation, and that can ensure a steady stream of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to your brain. Plus, improved circulation helps rid the body of toxins that can wreak havoc on active minds, making them sluggish and inefficient.
- Entertain your brain. Think of your brain as a precocious child. It needs to be continually entertained in new ways to keep it engaged and happy. Memory improvement games can play an important role in maintaining healthy, active minds. And, fortunately, they’re easy to find. Look for memory improvement games online, or download an app to take your games with you wherever you go.
- Teach it some new tricks. Learning new skills isn’t just fun – it also helps support active minds by making the brain stretch and flex its learning “muscles.” Check local colleges or schools for adult education classes, or enroll in a class online. Libraries often host casual classes in different skills, or you could join a book club. Learning a musical instrument can help engage whole new areas of your brain, especially if you don’t currently play one. Even cracking open a cookbook or DIY repair manual can give active minds plenty of stimulation to stay sharp.
- Stay social. Especially as we age, it’s easy to become isolated. Staying in touch with others keeps the brain “on track” and helps ward off depression and anxiety. Can’t leave your home or don’t want to? Join an online forum, or find an email “pen pal” to get the same benefits.