The brain is perhaps the most important and fascinating organ in our bodies. The brain is in charge of several processes throughout the body, from controlling unconscious movements to holding every memory and idea you’ve ever had. Consequently, it needs to continuously work even while you sleep, requiring an incredibly high amount of energy and nutrition to function well.
However, unfortunately, when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, people tend to overlook the support our brain needs. As a result, cognitive abilities such as memory, reasoning, and concentration rapidly decline. While you may not experience the effects right away, you will begin to face difficulties in handling even the simplest tasks over time. However, such a situation can be detrimental to your professional and personal life. Therefore, it’s crucial to avoid mental decline by enhancing your cognitive abilities through a healthier lifestyle. Here are five healthy habits that can elevate your cognitive abilities.
Avoid alcohol and tobacco
People often drink alcohol to reduce stress and relax. While it may give you temporary relaxation, it will only be at the cost of your brain’s health, leading to permanent issues in the future. Whether you’re a heavy drinker or not, consuming alcohol can significantly change the structure of your brain. Continued alcohol consumption causes neurons to be exposed to neurotransmitters for far too long, eventually causing them to burn out. Additionally, alcohol consumption causes a reduction in brain size. But alongside alcohol, smoking can also cause harm to the brain in several different ways. Without limiting alcohol and tobacco consumption, you may suffer slowed thinking, memory issues, and even psychological diseases such as dementia.
Undoubtedly, avoiding alcohol and tobacco can be quite challenging for those addicted. It’s no easy feat to break away from addiction, especially if you’re on your own. So, it’s best to get help from professionals through an addiction treatment program. Ensure to contact a reliable facility such as the Delphi health group to quit your addiction and elevate your mental health.
Keep your brain active
Similar to your muscles and other organs, such as the heart, your brain also requires mental exercise. Failing to keep your brain active and functioning will eventually cause its performance to decline. As your goal is to stimulate your brain, mental activities such as brain games can be quite helpful. For example, you can solve crossword puzzles, play sudoku or chess, and even put together a jigsaw puzzle. Furthermore, reading books can also help stimulate your brain and strengthen complex pathways within the brain that are used while reading. So, take a break from watching the TV, which does nothing to improve your cognitive abilities, and grab a book instead.
Butbear in mind not to overwork your brain to keep it active. Multitasking and focusing too much on your education will increase stress, affecting brain performance. So, take breaks while learning and give your brain time to rest.
Stay physically active
Physical activity not only strengthens your body but also elevates cognitive abilities. Regular exercise increases brain volume and improves reasoning and memory while reducing the risk of developing illnesses such as dementia. Furthermore, physical activity can also increase the production of new neurons in the hippocampus, which is the area responsible for learning and memory. In contrast, those who follow a sedentary lifestyle will suffer a decline in the size of the hippocampus, possibly leading to Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Besides, physically active individuals score highly on cognitive test scores that place them ten years younger than those who do not exercise.
Additionally, performing exercise allows you to socialize with people, which is crucial to improving cognitive abilities. Individuals who are socially isolated are more prone to developing depression and stress, resulting in reduced memory and thinking. Spending time with others while exercising will help you avoid such a situation. Not to mention, a fit body will increase your self-esteem and save you from further depression.
Sleep is an essential need of the brain. While you rest, your brain functions actively to improve your mental health in numerous ways. One of the many significant ways it does so is by removing toxins in your brain that accumulate while you’re awake. The more you sleep, the cleaner your brain will be from toxins that would otherwise reduce its performance. In addition to this, sleep offers the brain a chance to repair itself. Neurons that are harmed due to the stress you may experience during the day are fixed while you sleep. As a result, the pathways you use for learning and thinking are strengthened, leading to improved cognition. In contrast, sleep-deprived individuals experience mental fatigue and difficulty carrying out simple tasks.
So, if you’re not getting enough sleep, it’s time to follow a healthier sleep schedule and avoid mental decline. It’s best to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep each day to keep your brain fit. However, sleeping can be quite troublesome for some people. In such a situation, ensure to go to bed early and set a good sleeping environment. Avoiding caffeine and digital devices at night can also improve your sleep.
Follow a healthy diet
As mentioned earlier, the brain works around the day, using up a tremendous amount of energy and resources of the body. As a result, it requires you to fulfill its nutritional needs for improved performance. Vitamins and minerals are some of the most important nutrients for the brain. Vitamin B12,for instance, is essential for maintaining the nervous system and preventing mental illnesses such as memory loss. In terms of minerals, iron is crucial for the brain due to its role in carrying oxygen. So, make sure to add vitamin and mineral-rich food to your diet. Fruits, eggs, nuts, and green vegetables such as spinach are best. Antioxidants from vegetables and fruits are also quite beneficial for improving cognition.
Nonetheless, it’s equally important to remove harmful foods from your diet. For example, processed foods and meatcan be detrimental to your mental health. According to a study, individuals following diets high in fried and processed foods scored low in cognitive tests regarding memory and learning. In addition to processed foods, sugary drinks, aspartame, and high mercury fish can also be quite harmful to your mental health.
Cognitive decline is inevitable with age. However, harmful activities and habits can speed up this decline, causing mental illnesses. It can be arduous to keep up with your professional and personal life in such a situation. But fortunately, it’s never too late to change your habits and adopt a healthier lifestyle. So, keep in mind the habits mentioned above to elevate your cognitive abilities and live a happy life. More about whiteprintnews