Tips for a healthy brain

Amber Gilliland
Special Assignments Reporter

Improving brain health may sound like a complicated task, but many simple ways exist to keep the brain functioning at its best.

 

One way is to keep stress levels to a minimum. This is easier said than done. College students deal with multitudes of things that cause their stress levels to go off the charts. Between classes and homework, jobs, family, relationships, finances, clubs, sports and finding time to sleep, it’s no wonder students may feel like they’re on the verge of a meltdown.

 

High levels of pressure have negative effects on the brain. Tension and anxiety increase levels of the chemical cortisol in the body, which can disturb sleep patterns. A lack of sleep causes memory and focus to be affected. This potentially will cause the person to fall behind in school or at work, causing more tension.

 

Stress also depletes the immune system, making the body more susceptible to colds and flu. Missing work and school due to being sick increases the pressure that students already feel regarding the workload.

Clearly, finding a way to de-stress is important for the brain. Try taking a short time out of the day, even if it’s only a few minutes, to allow the mind to refocus and reduce anxiety levels. Try listening to a good song or playing a game like Candy Crush. Meditation can also be a way to relax and reenergize.

Also, try keeping a planner handy to can keep track of when assignments are due in order to avoid stress from forgetting assignments. It may take a few tries to find a method that works, but the result will be a thankful brain.

 

Exercise and a healthy diet also help lead to a healthy brain. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have many benefits for the brain including improved memory and learning while also helping to reduce the likelihood of certain mental disorders such as dementia. Eating foods such as walnuts, flaxseed and salmon will give the body a brain boosting amount of omega-3s.

Opting for foods high in antioxidants will assist brain health. When too many toxins from the environment accumulate in the body, eventually these toxins cause degeneration in parts of the brain, including the sections for memory. Foods high in antioxidants such as blueberries, cranberries, blackberries and artichokes can help battle toxin buildup and reduce brain degeneration.

Exercising works not only the body, but the brain as well. It’s been proven that regular aerobic exercise improves the part of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Exercise also triggers the release of endorphins which reduce memory-impairing stress and result in a happy feeling.

One of the best ways to have a healthy brain is to keep it active. When participating in activities that are routine or familiar, the brain doesn’t have to work very hard. Stepping out of the comfort zone and trying something new is beneficial as this will cause the brain to work differently than normally, giving it a workout. Make a commitment to do something mentally stimulating daily. Activities like reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle and learning a new language or instrument will give the brain a workout and keep it in good shape.

The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost

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Tips for a healthy brain

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