When you experience digestive issues, you think about what you’re eating and improve your diet. When the doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, you start exercising more. After all, there are tangible relationships between physical health issues and lifestyle choices. But when it comes to the brain health, you probably aren’t as purposeful with how you approach healthy decision making – and this needs to change.

5 Tips for Improving Brain Health and it’s Functioning

Your brain is directly involved in almost every aspect of your life, yet you probably don’t spend much time thinking about how you can support it. This is problematic, since – as you age – certain parts of the brain shrink and deteriorate. These changes can lead to problems with memory, processing, multi-tasking, and basic functioning.

Whether it’s inflammation in the brain, an underlying condition, or the progression of a disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, it’s common for aging individuals to experience a steady drop-off in brain functioning. But research also shows that there are ways to prevent or slow the onset of cognitive processing issues and memory-related problems.

As you age, think about brain health and how you can supercharge your mind. The following tips will help:

  • Manage Your Diet

Did you know that your gut is essentially your “second brain?” Gut bacteria transmits information directly to your brain via a highway known as the vagus nerve – the tenth cranial nerve running from the brain stem to the enteric nervous system.

“There is a close connection between abnormal gut flora and abnormal brain development, and just as you have neurons in your brain, you also have neurons in your gut – including neurons that produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, which is also found in your brain and is linked to mood,” Dr. Mercola explains.

When you hear doctors discuss the significance of consuming a “brain healthy” diet, this is precisely why. Not only does the status of your gut impact your brain health, but so do the types of nutrients you consume.

“About 12% of the brain is made out of lipids (fatty substances). Grey matter (where thinking and memory takes place) is actually 36% to 40% lipid content, while white matter and the insulating-myelin sheath covering nerves has a much higher lipid content,” biochemist and clinical nutrition specialist Wilfredo Hernandez writes for InVite Health. “EPA and DHA, the omega-3 fatty acids from fish or krill oil, are incredibly important lipid constituents of the brain and are the prime structural components of brain cell membranes.”

  • Hit the Gym

There are mounds of research and countless studies that show a strong correlation between physical exercise and brain health. More specifically, there’s a connection between aerobic exercise and cognitive functioning.

For best results, you should get at least 30 minutes of moderate to intense exercise per day. Five times per week is enough to give you a significant boost.

  • Exercise Your Brain

It’s also necessary to exercise your brain. Like any muscle in your body, the brain needs to be challenged, stretched, and used. If it remains inactive, it’ll naturally deteriorate.

Your brain can be stimulated in a number of ways. Brain games, puzzles, and reading are all good options. Find something that interests you and commit to regular cognitive exercise.

  • Socialize Often

Socialization plays a key role in maintaining brain health and preventing premature decline. Interaction with other humans provides brain stimulation that can’t be mimicked in other settings. Even if you can’t always spend time with people, phone calls can be an effective way to light up these areas of the brain.

  • Sleep More

Want to hear some good news? Sleep is good for the brain. In fact, there are lots of issues caused by lack of sleep. This means you don’t have to feel guilty about going to bed a little earlier or sleeping in a bit later. However, quality is generally more important than quantity. Create a healthy sleep environment to help you maximize deep sleep stages.

Care for Your Brain

You only get one brain. The more you care for it, the lower your likelihood of experiencing significant issues with memory and cognitive functioning. Meet with your doctor and establish a health plan that sets you up for long-term success.