Many people focus their attention on strengthening their body while paying little attention to strengthening their brain. Since our brain is the central processing point for our body, it is extremely important to take good care of it. And, like our body, if you want to strengthen your brain, you must continue to challenge it with different exercises and activities while feeding it healthy food and giving it sufficient rest.
There are many activities that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to insure that your brain continues to stay strong and healthy. Just like physical exercise, it is important to choose an activity that you enjoy and have the time to do. Physical exercise is a great option to choose as it develops both your mind and body. Studies suggest that exercise can create new neural pathways in the brain allowing you to expand the capacity and use of your brain. Exercise also increases oxygen levels in the brain allowing for it to grow and heal. Other physical activities to consider are juggling, ping pong, and tennis. All of which require hand eye coordination and will help strengthen your brain.
Not all activities that strengthen the brain have to be physical. You can learn a new language or musical instrument, listen to music, do crossword puzzles, write a story, or draw a picture. Reading and learning new words also strengthens your brain. Lastly, a fun thing to try is using your non-dominant hand throughout the day for things like writing, coloring, buttoning clothes, opening and closing things, etc. All of these activities challenge your brain and can help create new neural pathways, strengthening the brain.
Just as new activities are important for the brain so is the food we choose to eat. Here are some nutritional guidelines that can help you improve brainpower and quickness:
- Walnuts and blueberries can improve neuron communication
- Omega-3 fatty acids, the oils found in fish and some plants such as flaxseed, can improve brain function
- Drink plenty of water, as dehydration can be harmful to the brain
- Eat a healthy breakfast each day to provide the nutrients necessary to get your brain off to a good start
- Strawberries can help your brain perform at optimum levels, thanks to the antioxidants they contain
- Healthy proteins such as fish, eggs, beef, chicken, and turkey allow your body to build and repair itself
- While moderate amounts of caffeine can be helpful (one cup of tea or coffee), too much can over stimulate the brain leading to a crash
- Over consumption of alcohol can be harmful to your brain and body
- Limit junk food. Excessive carbs and high sugar intake can drain your brain power and slow it down
Quality sleep is essential for overall brain health, giving it the opportunity to recover from the many demands it faces each day. (Check out my recent post, Are Your Sleep Habits Making You Unhealthy?) If you remember to challenge your brain with new activities, feed it well, and give it proper rest, you will be on your way to a stronger, healthier brain.
*Please consult with your doctor before starting any new activity.