As we near the end of the decade, I thought it would be helpful for me to share some ideas with you about brain health and optimization. I always thought if I avoided risky behaviors and did not experience injuries or illnesses that affected the brain, I would be alright. But it turns out there is much more to it than that. It’s the combination of eating the right food and sleep health that makes the difference.
Did you know that cognitive decline can begin as soon as your late 20s and early 30s? A University of Virginia study published in 2009 discovered “top performances in some of the tests were accomplished at the age of 22. A notable decline in certain measures of abstract reasoning, brain speed and in puzzle-solving became apparent at 27.” We can improve our brain’s function based on our life choices.
Nutrition is the very basic foundation of all health, including brain health, so making wise choices in what foods to eat not only helps your body stay healthy and trim, but also helps improve your brain function.
Add these Superfoods to Your Diet
Dark leafy greens. Kale, spinach, and Swiss chard all contain vitamin K, lutein, folate and beta-carotene, which combat inflammation, improve cognitive function and reduce neurodegeneration. If you’re not a fan of salads, adopt the habit of drinking a green smoothie daily for breakfast.
Berries. Blueberries especially contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that have been shown to improve cognitive function. When you’re craving something sweet, reach for some blueberries instead of sugar-filled snacks, or add a serving of blueberries to sweeten your green smoothie.
Avocado. Your brain needs healthy fats to function, and avocados are filled with monounsaturated fats. Avocados are also important to your overall health because they help balance your LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, which in turn increases the blood flow to your brain and reduces the risk of stroke.
Cauliflower and Broccoli. Both are filled with choline, which helps prevent memory loss and cognitive decline as we age. Check out Pinterest for simple yet tasty ways to prepare cauliflower and broccoli or add some raw pieces to your salads.
Turmeric. A yellow spice often used in Indian foods, turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory that can also help improve memory. Its main compound, curcumin, is thought to increase the presence of BDNF, a growth hormone in the brain. Add turmeric to your foods or take a supplement daily.
Sleep Your Way to a Healthy Brain
Another simple way to keep your brain healthy is to get enough sleep. Without sleep, your brain can’t function properly. Your reflexes are slower, you’ll have difficulty focusing on tasks and you’ll have difficulty learning new things. Sleep is also extremely important to your brain’s neurons and their ability to communicate with each other.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke says, “Research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of disorders including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity.” Therefore, it makes common sense to do anything possible to avoid these catastrophic health issues.
Unplug from electronics one hour before bed. The blue light that reflects off the mobile phone or television screen reduces the amount of melatonin produced in the brain, which is necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Meditate. Coupled with unplugging from technology, meditation is a peaceful way to calm down after a long, stressful day.
Set an earlier bedtime. Instead of falling asleep on the couch watching your favorite television show, set the DVR and go to bed earlier. Adults need a solid 7-9 hours of sleep each night for optimal performance the next day.
Increase your light exposure during daytime hours. Your circadian rhythm is the biological time clock that tells the body it’s daytime or nighttime. Increasing your light exposure not only increases your daytime energy, it also prepares your body for a good night’s sleep. Get outside when the sun is out.
Turn your bedroom into a peaceful oasis. To improve your sleep quality, eliminate clutter, add some room darkening shades or curtains, and charge your electronics elsewhere. Clutter causes stress in our brains, which is the last thing you want when it’s time for sleeping.
Email me for a comprehensive report on brain health and optimization.
Connie Ragen Green lives in Plum Canyon and has been working exclusively online since 2006. “Authors! The Quick Book to Business Method: Turning Your Book into an Ongoing Revenue Stream” is her latest book and was released by Hunter’s Moon Publishing in August of 2019. All of Connie’s titles are available in paperback at Amazon, at Barnes & Noble, at your local bookstore by request, and also for Kindle. Find out more by visiting http://HugeProfitsTinyList.com and download an audio recording for 2019 at http://NewRulesforOnlineMarketing.com.
Questions? Email Connie at email@example.com and be sure to put Home Business Question in the subject line. Your question and answer will be included in a future article.