4 easy things you can do every day to benefit your brain
You’ll be happy to know two of them involve food.
Brain health may not seem too appealing in your twenties to forties as you’re way too busy working hard in your career, raising children, travelling the world, attempting to meal prep and investing in pricey activewear.
Yes, the stakes have never been higher in your busy life, but alarmingly neither has the number of people diagnosed with dementia each year. Coincidence? H&H Group Naturopath Cheryl Goodman thinks not.
“There’s no question that chronic stress has an impact on our health. Stress hormones do have effects on the brain, both positive and negative; however, long-term exposure to these hormones may impact the centres of the brain linked to dementia.”
Recent statistics from Alzheimer’s Disease International highlight every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia. The disease currently affects almost 50 million people worldwide, which is predicted to increase to 131.5 million people by 2050.
Follow Goodman’s four easy ways to better brain health – and avoid becoming one of the statistics.
Eat or drink your protein
“Protein occurs in all cells of your body and is made up of various amino acids. Some amino acids are essential, meaning we do not produce them in the body and need to obtain them from the diet.
Make sure you’re feeding your brain with the best source of protein. Animal products are generally high in protein – red meat, fish, chicken, eggs and dairy. If you’re vegetarian, fill up your plate with legumes, tofu, tempeh, quinoa, buckwheat, nuts, seed and whole grains.
Protein is required for a multitude of functions within the body, however, with a focus on brain health these roles include neurotransmitter and hormone production, growth and development, as well as healthy tissue function.”
Exercise for endorphins
“You’ve heard it before – get moving! Exercise promotes blood flow to your brain, providing it with oxygen and nutrients it needs to function correctly. It also encourages the production of feel-good neurotransmitters, responsible for the ‘runners high’ you might experience.
Even if you don’t experience such a profound rush of endorphins, regular movement can still be helping to produce these chemicals which help put you in a better mood.”
“Many spices can have a beneficial effect on your brain. Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant which can help support brain health in general. There is emerging research on its role in mental health and the ageing brain as well. Consume turmeric with fat (such as olive oil) or black pepper for optimal absorption.
Sage is another herb that has been associated with memory support and healthy brain function.
Meanwhile, rosemary has been used in traditional herbal medicine to support memory and cognition. Again, it has potent antioxidant properties and can stimulate blood flow to your brain.
“Mindfulness has become a bit of catchphrase and for good reason. Research in the Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience journal shows that meditation can create new neural brain pathways - changing the way we react, think and emotionally respond.
We have many established thought patterns and emotional responses that seemingly occur without us even thinking about them.
Some of these responses aren’t always beneficial – things such as being quick to anger, having negative thoughts about yourself, feelings of anxiety, as well as more serious outcomes such as emotional triggers.
Regular meditation has been shown to be able to change these default reactions, increasing emotional resilience. Get started today and download an app.”