When one thinks of fitness, they usually think of muscle building and other forms of physical fitness. We often tend to ignore the health of our brain. The brain is one of the most important parts of our bodies and it needs to be taken care of for long-term development and to maintain overall health. It plays an important role in every area of our lives, from learning and working to personality development. It helps us remember things and in aptitude development. On World Brain Day, here are some tips to maintain good brain health:
1. Have fruits and vegetables: One should include fruits and vegetables in their diet as they have vitamins, minerals, dietary fibre and especially antioxidants, which make the functioning of the brain better. A diet that uses less salt also helps in maintaining good brain health.
2. Maintain a low-fat diet: A low-fat diet prevents cholesterol deposition in the brain. Additionally, consuming food that is rich in vitamin B is good because it protects individuals from dementia.
3. Avoid stimulants and recreational drugs: Stimulant addiction and use of recreational drugs have the potential to cause severe brain damage. Therefore, they should be avoided at all costs. Those with preexisting addictions should seek help from medical professionals.
4. Avoid consumption of excess alcohol: Alcohol is a brain toxin and excess consumption of it can cause serious damage to the brain cells. If you consume alcohol, make sure to have it spread out, instead of binging.
5. Stay physically active: Regular exercising for as little as 30 minutes a day improves blood circulation and metabolism of the brain and helps in its better functioning. It is also one of the best ways to prevent dementia.
6. Avoid stress: Stress consumes brain transmitters and impairs memory and attention. One should try to avoid stress as much as possible as it is one of the major causes of memory loss in young people.
7. Stay mentally active: The brain can learn and retain new skills and facts throughout our lives. Therefore, we should participate in intellectually stimulating activities, as they improve brain functioning and keep the neurons active. Brain training exercises and extending education helps. It can also help in overall mental health.
8. Social engagement: Being socially active with friends and family helps in maintaining a happy lifestyle. This is true in the case of brain health too as research shows that regular social activities help in creating brain cells and promoting brain repair.
The brain is an integral part of our body and its growth and development mainly takes place in the first five years after an individual is born. Therefore, during those years it becomes important for parents to engage the child in intellectually stimulating games. This would in turn help in long term development, intelligence and brain function. We should keep in mind that, as adults, we should not overburden ourselves because that could slow down the brain. Multitasking should be avoided as it leads to lack of attention and memory loss. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle in all aspects is important to maintain good brain health.
This article was written by Dr Praveen Gupta, Director and Head, Neurology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram.
For more information, read our article on Memory Loss.
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