It’s never too early to start taking care of your brain health. Fortunately, many of the healthy choices that help your body stay healthy can help your brain stay healthy, too. Here’s a list of the basics for maintaining brain health. How many can you check off?
☐ Limit alcohol. Drinking alcohol moderately to excessively over time may cause a decline in cognitive function.
☐ Eat a nutritious diet. Help protect your brain by eating nutrient-rich foods. In particular, the antioxidants in dark-colored fruits and veggies may help shield brain cells from harm. Cold-water fatty fish, like salmon, may also be beneficial.
☐ Get plenty of exercise. Being active can boost blood flow to the brain. It can also lessen the risk of health problems linked to age-related mental decline.
☐ Get plenty of great sleep. Quality sleep is vital to brain health. If you often wake up feeling unrested, talk with your doctor to tailor a plan to improve your sleep.
☐ Manage stress. Chronic stress may play a role in mental decline. Add stress-relief techniques like meditation, massage, or yoga to your daily life.
☐ Stimulate your mind. Have fun with word and number games. Work puzzles. Learn a new skill, language, or musical instrument. Activities like these may aid cell function, trigger new cell growth, and improve connections between cells.
☐ Stay connected. Social isolation and loneliness have been shown to boost decline in mental function. Nurture ties with family and friends.
☐ Manage health problems. Work with your doctor if you have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or high body mass index.
☐ Protect your head. Head injuries raise the risk of mental declines later in life. Wear a seatbelt in the car and a helmet if you bike.
☐ Do not smoke. Smoking decreases blood flow throughout the entire body, including your brain.
More studies are needed to confirm the link between smoking and brain health. But its heavy toll on overall health is well known. Don’t forget, whether you choose to stay active on-the-go or at home, you can access thousands of gyms nationwide through Active&Fit Direct™, as well as thousands more on-demand workout videos. And as a member of Active&Fit Direct, one-on-one well-being coaching is a feature of your program that comes at no extra cost to you. You can access Active&Fit Direct through your employer, health plan, or association.