Brain Health: How can we keep our brains healthy?

In Brain Health by Melanie Crookston, M.A. CCC-SLPLeave a Comment

Throughout our lifetime, many of us have most likely heard; whether from school, the news, your doctor or an informed friend, how important it is to keep our brains healthy. But have you ever really known what you can do to assist with your OWN brain health? I like to view brain health as having 5 important pillars: diet, exercise, sleep and stress reduction, socialization and cognitive stimulation.

A healthy brain is critical for longevity. Our brains control everything we do; our mood, how we strategize, focus, communicate, make decisions and problem solve. Essentially, “we are our brains.” When our brains are healthy, we are better able to perform thinking tasks as well as normal everyday tasks we set out to tackle.

There are numerous ways you can engage the brain to keep it healthy as an organ.

Below are some fun, actionable steps you can take to help “keep your brain fit and healthy.” Try to engage in activities that are attentionally demanding and involve new elements that you may have to try to master.

  1. Switch hands: If you’re right-handed; try using your left hand to do things like brushing your teeth, eating & using your computer mouse. Using your non-dominant hand results in increased brain activity.
  2. Eat with chopsticks: This will force you to eat mindfully which is good for your brain, digestion & calorie consumption.
  3. Read books aloud: Take turns reading & listening to a book with another person.  If that’s not feasible, alternate reading with listening to audiobooks.
  4. Take new routes: You can take new routes when walking, biking, or riding public transportation as well.
  5. Brain stimulating activities: As always, I recommend, crossword puzzles, word searches, sudoku, jig-saw puzzles, a Rubik’s cube, scrabble and card games such as bridge, solitaire or poker.

In addition to keeping our brains stimulated, we need to consider keeping our “guts” healthy. The gut microbiome is strongly linked to cognitive performance.

Below I have listed several “brain foods” that have been found to help boost focus and memory. Many of these foods contain powerful antioxidants, vitamins and ingredients which help reduce inflammation in our bodies, help rid our blood of toxins, protect our brains from stress, slow down mental deterioration and improve our mental alertness and cognitive capabilities.

  1. AVOCADOS
  2. BEETS
  3. BLUEBERRIES
  4. BONE BROTH
  5. BROCCOLI
  6. CELERY
  7. COCONUT OIL
  8. DARK CHOCOLATE
  9. EGG YOLKS
  10. EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL
  11. GREEN, LEAFY VEGETABLES
  12. ROSEMARY
  13. SALMON
  14. TURMERIC
  15. WALNUTS

The foods we consume directly communicate with our DNA and greatly influence how well our brains work. Try cooking with a few of the food items listed above each week. I have found that testing out new, healthy recipes can be fun!

After practicing speech therapy for almost a decade now, I have learned many wellness tips and preventative strategies to prolong the health of our brains and reduce our risk of cognitive decline.  To learn more, schedule a consultation with a speech language pathologist at www.longevitybrainbody.com/book or contact [email protected] if you would like additional information pertaining to this subject matter.

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