Brain Featured

Tips to improve brain health

Brain health.
Written by Jennifer Palisoc

Taking care of brain health is about taking actions that will help the brain function well, reduce health risks such as stroke or dementia, and to help improve well-being and the brain’s ability to cope with changes as we get older.

“The brain is the key organ at the centre of what we think, what we feel, how we behave, and how we move,” says Dr. Anthony Levitt, chief of Sunnybrook’s Hurvitz Brain Sciences Program.

Around the world, brain disease is the leading cause of death and disability. Many of us know someone whose life has been impacted by stroke, dementia, mental illness, or other brain conditions. By 2030, diseases of the brain are expected to outpace all others in terms of health-care costs and level of disability in society.

“The brain is influenced and affected by almost everything we do. Simple steps taken each day can help support brain health and general well-being,” adds Dr. Levitt.

Here are simple steps to boosting brain health to keep it working at its best.

Make sleep a priority

A good night’s rest has a positive impact on learning, thinking, memory, and mood. It can also help strengthen your immune system. Sleep helps to clear toxins from the brain, consolidate memories, and boost brain function.

For the times when it is difficult to fall asleep, you can try these tips to help improve your sleep.

Be physically active

Research has shown that exercise can help protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease. It helps to increase blood flow to the brain. Being active can also help improve sleep.

Eat well

Healthy eating is good for the brain. Nutritious foods including lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can feed the brain in a positive way. Include foods that are low in fat and high in antioxidants.

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Be socially active

Social interaction, and maintaining this as we age, has a positive impact on mental health. Connecting with family, friends, and building positive relationships can help with stress management. Engaging in conversation can stimulate the brain and strengthen problem-solving skills, all of which benefit brain health, overall.

Challenge your brain

Various activities that energize the brain intellectually can be done while engaging with others socially or own your own. Word games, puzzles, reading, listening to music, dancing, painting, or learning something new, and many other activities, can build new connections among nerve cells in the brain and help keep it in shape.

About the author

Jennifer Palisoc

Jennifer Palisoc is a Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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