We all fear the diminishment of mind that can accompany aging. In fact, most of us probably believe that losing our mental edge is an inevitable part of growing old.
Not necessarily. According to neurologist Dr. Ilene Ruhoy, simply incorporating the five key daily practices below can help keep our brains healthy. Some will be a surprise, while others seem like common sense, but these practices all work together to produce a much-desired result – a sharpened mind.
1. Nutrition – In an ideal world, our meals would be as unprocessed as possible, and our diets would limit pro-inflammatory and acid-forming foods, like dairy, sugar, meat, and simple carbohydrates. Our brain cells particularly crave plant nutrition. To kick start your day, try a healing juice made from turmeric, ginger, cucumber, lemon, and pear.
2. Exercise – We don’t all have to be triathletes, but it’s a well-known fact that our bodies crave movement. Increase your heart rate at least 30 minutes a day, through walking, biking, yoga, or dance. A key point to monitor throughout the day is your posture – correcting our posture connects parts of the body to the brain and increases mind (and body) health.
3. Supplementation – Potent supplements like antioxidant N-acetylcysteine, antimicrobial thyme, and alpha-lipoic acid all help our minds thrive. By using plant supplements, we help maintain the integrity and function of our brain cells and generate additional neurons.
4. Meditation – You don’t have to be a Buddhist monk to practice this healthful habit. Science shows that meditative sessions can and will reduce (and potentially even halt) brain atrophy, the process of loss of tissue in the brain. Meditation has been shown to increase the volume of brain tissues, especially in areas such as the hippocampus, an important site for memory function.
5. Sleep – Everyone needs sleep. By our nature, we are meant to fall asleep when the sun sets and awaken when the sun rises. Each day, go outside to soak in morning light for 20 minutes. During the hours from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., the sun’s angle signals to the brain that it is the start of a new day. And don’t forget a healthy breakfast. Nourish yourself with dense nutrients to kick-start the body’s myriad biochemical reactions for overall health building. As the sun sets, start preparing for rest by practicing good sleep hygiene. Try taking a hot bath, sipping some chamomile tea, and meditating.
Practice these five tips for improved brain function and an overall sense of wellbeing. Bonus points if you make your way through the day mindful and present, kind and content, and trying new things. All of these elements add up to a sharpened mind, nourished body, and elevated spirit.