3 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain
Your brain is the command center of your body.
A healthy brain is key to a happy life. Your brain’s in charge of what you do deliberately (like speaking, decision-making, and exercising), and it’s in charge of the things you do without thinking (like breathing, digestion, and, of course, thinking).
From running errands to running a business to running away from monsters in our dreams, our brains are constantly at work. Our job is to keep our brains healthy so they can keep doing theirs. Yet, statistically, 3 in 5 Americans will develop a brain disease, according to the American Heart Association.
What does it mean to have a healthy brain?
According to a Presidential Advisory from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, a healthy brain is one that works adaptively and competently across the categories of thinking, moving, and feeling. In other words, the ability to correctly perceive things and remember things, problem solve, move your body, and regulate your feelings (among other things) are all good signs of a healthy brain!
With so much riding on a healthy brain, the more important question is, how do we keep it that way?
How to build a healthy brain
There’s a lot you can do to maintain a healthy brain. We’ll focus on three key areas that you can start to take action on now:
1.Get enough sleep
There are a lot of scientific studies linking sleep and brain function, but it doesn’t take a scientist to know poor sleep impacts the brain. If you’ve ever pulled an all-nighter, you know.
Make sure you’re getting the amount of sleep you need — a good rule of thumb is 9.5 hours for kids and teens and 7-9 hours for adults. And if you’re having trouble sleeping, you might want to look into adding sleep-support supplements to your routine, like this Best-Rest Formula which combines time-tested ingredients like valerian, chamomile, and hops to help relax the central nervous system.
2. Take care of your heart
Turning back to the study that helped us define a healthy brain, the authors say:
“Normal brain function is highly dependent on adequate delivery of energy substrates, mainly oxygen and glucose. These are delivered by cerebral blood flow, which, in turn, depends on cardiovascular and cerebrovascular health.”
If all you get from that is “cardiovascular,” great! All they’re saying is the brain needs oxygen and nutrients to work, and those are delivered in the blood pumped by the heart. The point is, brain health is directly tied to heart health.
One of the best things you can do for your brain is to take care of your heart. Caring about your heart will go a long way to making sure your brain stays strong. Here are just a few things you can do:
- – Watch what goes in your body — poor diet and smoking are top contributors to heart disease. Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and healthy fats!
- – Make cardiovascular supplements part of your routine to help protect against the damaging effects of free radicals and support cardiovascular function.
- – Get enough exercise — at least 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week.
3. Stay mentally active
Support your brain by keeping it active! The brain is incredibly plastic, and the best way to keep it flexible is exercise. Give your brain new tasks, take it to new places, and keep it sharp by participating in activities with other people that make you connect, reflect, and create new memories.
Enjoy your healthy brain!
Whether you like jigsaw puzzles or word puzzles, painting, climbing, or salsa dancing, find something new to do, and your brain will thank you. (If your brain’s tired and you need ideas, Asheville’s bursting with things to do — check out this list.)
And if you think your brain might need a boost, supplements are another way you can support your brain. These Brain Health Support Capsules contain vital nutrients including docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), phosphatidylserine, Acetyl L-carnitine, choline, and inositol to support neural activity as well as the brain’s structural makeup.
1.The American Heart Association. What is Brain Health. Accessed online Aug. 10, 2021.
2. Gorelick, Philip B et al. “Defining Optimal Brain Health in Adults: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.” Stroke vol. 48,10 (2017): e284-e303. doi:10.1161/STR.0000000000000148. Accessed online August 10, 2021.
3. Suni, Eric. How Lack of Sleep Impacts Cognitive Performance and Focus. Updated December 11, 2020. Accessed online Aug. 10, 2021.