Simple yet powerful ways to strengthen your brain
12/04/2018 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Have you been feeling a bit off lately? Do you find it harder to remember things even if you've just encountered them? If you answered "yes" to either of these questions then you might be suffering from poor brain health. Fortunately, there are many activities that you can easily do to get your brain back in top shape.

The brain is responsible for many functions, including learning, memory, reasoning, and mood. Over time, people might find it harder to perform these functions. However, for some people, impairments can be observed earlier in life due to habits that hasten the brain aging process. Some of these habits include the following:

  • Eating lots of processed foods
  • Having a sedentary lifestyle
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Drinking too much alcohol and coffee but not enough water
  • Listening to extremely loud music
  • Smoking

Ways to improve brain health

The following are some of the techniques you can utilize to improve brain function and prevent cognitive decline:

  • Learn something new -- One of the most common misconceptions that people have about the brain is that it slowly stops producing new brain cells as a person ages. But it doesn't matter what age you are, as long as you're still learning, the brain will continue to produce new cells and forge new connections that help improve its functions. So, even if you're already out of school, keep learning new things whether it be a new skill, recipe, language, or maybe a new hobby.
  • Solve puzzles -- When you challenge your brain with puzzles, it also makes connections to improve signal transmission and help you get to the correct answer. Previous studies have shown that people who solve puzzles effectively delayed the onset of memory decline in dementia patients by more than two and a half years.
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  • Manage stress -- The world can be a pretty stressful place, but you shouldn't easily give in to it since it has been shown to have significant effects on the brain. Aside from being emotionally draining, stress also alters brain structure especially of the hippocampus, which is the region responsible for memory and emotions. To prevent this, participate in activities that can relieve stress like yoga, meditation, or any leisure activities that you enjoy doing.
  • Read -- Since the brain is a muscle, it also gains strength through exercises like reading. Researchers have determined that people who frequently read significantly reduced their risk of brain lesions and memory decline.
  • Exercise -- Physical exercises are also great for brain health since they promote the delivery of blood to the brain, effectively increasing the energy and nutrient supply for the different mental functions. One of the best exercises to try out is aerobics since it also increases the size of the hippocampus but if you're not into this, you can simply walk or jog around.
  • Eat brain food -- For the brain to stay healthy, it needs sufficient supply of essential nutrients, especially omega-3. This fatty acid, which is commonly found in fatty fish and walnuts, keeps the brain running. Moreover, a type of omega-3 called docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is essential for brain structure and based on previous studies, low levels of this lead to smaller brain size and faster brain aging.

The brain is central to many of the body's processes so it is important to take good care of it, especially if you want to avoid diseases like Alzheimer's and dementia. By simply changing some of your habits, you can enjoy normal brain functioning for a longer period of time.  (Related: You choose your brain health with your diet: Anti-inflammatory diet improves brain health while inflammatory diet accelerates atrophy.)

For more articles about maintaining brain health, visit

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