Five ways to maintain your brain health

Don’t have time for brain games that test your memory or attention span? If you are looking for ways to keep your brain sharp, keep in mind that stress management techniques and improved diet can go a long way to help maintain brain health.

Reduce vascular risk factors

Improving your overall physical health is crucial. Studies show that cardiovascular health can greatly affect brain function. Regular exercise increases blood flow, oxygen and strengthens neural connections. Other ways to improve physical health include:
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  • Reducing  tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and recreational drug use
  • Eating wholegrains, nuts, beans, and a variety of fruits and vegetables
  • Eating less red meat and more fish
  • Using extra-virgin olive oil as your primary oil
  • Staying hydrated by drinking water rather than soft drinks
  • Consuming in moderation
Improve your mood

Depression and anxiety are linked to an increased risk for declines in thinking skills. To help improve your mood, try:

  • Getting more exposure to sunlight and nature
  • Setting aside time every day to do things that you enjoy – listen to music, go on a walk, call a friend, watch a movie or play with a pet
  • Consider seeking counseling to learn more effective coping strategies
Get out and be social
  • Loneliness is related to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and stroke
  • People with the more active social lives have the slowest rate of memory decline
  • Spend quality time with friends and family on a regular basis
Reduce stress

Mild stress may impact thinking skills, and high stress can make it harder to learn new skills and solve complex problems. Some stress relievers include:

  • Talking, laughing and crying when necessary
  • Expressing anger when appropriate
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding addictive substances
Learn something new
  • Take up a new, challenging hobby
  • Play board games, digital games, crossword puzzles, word search or Sudoku
  • Focus on abilities and not disabilities or limitations
Additional Resources

Seven tips to help reduce the effects of stress

Break bad moods with these tips

-By Drs. Michele York, Adriana Strutt and the Neuropsychology team at Baylor College of Medicine

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