Healthy Brain, Happy Life

When we think of brain health, we often think of it in terms of the absence of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but brain health is so much more than the absence of disease. The brain is the command center for everything our bodies do. It is responsible for our physical functions, our cognitive ability, and our emotional well-being. That’s why a holistic approach to brain health is key to ensuring overall health. How do we do that?


Eat Brain-Boosting Foods

Just as we need healthy food to fuel the body, we need to make healthy food choices to fuel our brain. Foods like leafy greens rich in vitamin K, beta carotene, folate, and vitamin E help to improve brain health by protecting cells from free radicals. Broccoli also is a good source of vitamin K, which is an essential component in the type of fat that is key to the make-up of brain cells.

So much is written about omega-3 fatty acids and heart health, but omega-3s are also a critical nutrient for brain function. Studies show that including foods like salmon and walnuts which are rich in omega-3s helps to improve learning, memory, and overall cognitive well-being. 

Eggs are also a good part of a brain boosting diet. Eggs are one of the best sources of choline. Research findings suggest that choline can have a positive effect on memory, and it may support increases in processing speed.   

More and more, we are learning about the health benefits of dark chocolate. Its positive effects on brain health is just another one of its many benefits. Studies show that cocoa flavanols increase the blood flow to the brain, boosting memory, attention span, reaction time, and problem solving skills.

While whole foods are the best source for nutrients that feed the body and the brain, supplements can help where deficiencies occur. 

Avoid Brain-Busting Foods

Highly processed foods such as chips, sweets, ready-made meals and more, with their high levels of sugar and fat, have been linked to decreased brain tissue, impaired learning and memory, as well as faster declines in reasoning. 

Refined carbohydrates and foods high in partially hydrogenated trans fats also negatively impact brain function. Research has shown that the high glycemic load that comes from eating refined carbs can impair memory. Many of the same foods with refined carbohydrates also contain partially hydrogenated trans fats. Snack foods,  ready-made cakes, prepackaged cookies are just a few of these. Studies have found people who consume these fats may increase their risk of cognitive decline. 

Other Key Ways to Stay Mentally Fit

  1. Regular exercise gets the blood pumping, which is good for overall health, but also good for pumping oxygen to the brain. Physical exercise also benefits the synapses, which also increases brain acuity. 
  2. Reduce stress and anxiety through techniques like meditation. Chronic stress leads to higher levels of cortisol and too much buildup can interfere with brain function.
  3. Learn new things. Keeping your brain active by learning new activities like playing an instrument helps to build nerve connections and increase cognitive reserve. 
  4. Connect with friends. Being socially engaged boosts brain health and reduces the risk of depression as well as dementia. 
  5. Finally, sleep is important for overall health and brain health. Our brains need rest for us to mentally recharge. The brain also uses sleep to cleanse toxic waste that accumulates during the day. 

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.