Good news, everyone! Recent studies have suggested that many people can promote and maintain healthy brain functioning simply by continuing what we already love to do every day: eating and sleeping.
Getting Your Z’s: How Sleep Helps Maintain Brain Health
It has long been known that sleep helps the mind to process the tsunami of information that it receives every day. While you are sleeping your brain is codifying your day’s stimuli, organizing and categorizing it, allowing your memories to develop. Naps have also been shown to aid memory when learning new information.
Sleep time is also when your brain cleans and repairs itself. Neurotoxins and byproducts of daily activities are flushed away while we blissfully slumber. The recently discovered glymphatic system is what our brains use to pump cerebral spinal fluid through our brains, clearing out the day’s wastes and flushing our neural pathways clean. Adults are recommended to get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night for optimum brain health.
Boosting Your Brain With Food
The foods you choose to eat everyday can also make a big difference to the health of your brain. Here are some brain-healthy foods that you will be happy to add to your diet.
Blueberries are a brain superfood. Not only are they a great source of anti-oxidants, but Tufts University researchers believe that they can help restore memory loss. Strawberries, blackberries and acai berries are also support memory functioning.
If you are worried about Alzheimer’s Disease, then coffee may be your new best friend. Drinking coffee every day has been linked to reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease.
Avocados have two ways in which they support brain health. They are rich in unsaturated fat, necessary for your brain’s cell membranes. They are also an excellent source of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has been linked to a lower risk of dementia. Peanut butter and sunflower seeds are also excellent sources of vitamin E. Dark leafy green vegetables like kale, broccoli, or spinach are rich in vitamin E, and also contain many additional nutrients for your body’s health. Add all of these to your diet for optimum brain health.
Eating plenty of salmon will ensure that you are getting good levels of omega-3 fatty acids, as well as the brain boosting docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which promotes neuron function.
A daily diet rich in whole grains will ensure that your brain receives a steady supply of glucose, the fuel that supplies your brain with the energy it needs for daily functioning.
Finally, eating chocolate at least once a week has been shown to significantly improve cognitive performance. Chocolate helps with improved working memory, and abstract reasoning.