Boost Your Brain Health: Key Strategies for a Longer Life

Use it or lose it—your brain, that is. Our brain changes with age, and mental function changes along with it. Mental decline is typical and one of the most feared consequences of aging. But, cognitive impairment is not inevitable. Keeping your brain healthy is essential for living a long and entire life. The following eight tips are easy ways to keep your brain healthy and functioning.

Stay Mentally Active

Studies have shown that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may help the brain generate new cells, develop neurological plasticity, and build a functional reserve to hedge against future cell loss.

Reading, playing cards, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, playing crossword puzzles or Sudoku, or completing word searches are easy ways of boosting memory and focus. Experiment with things that require manual dexterity and mental effort, such as drawing, painting, and other crafts. Try using your non-dominant hand for things like brushing your teeth or eating. Incorporate different activities to increase effectiveness, and don’t watch too much television, as that is a passive activity that does little to stimulate your brain. 

Exercise Regularly

High-intensity and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise are not just good for your heart. They’re also good for your brain. Exercise improves mood and cardiac function, reduces stress, and makes you more mentally alert. You don’t need much activity to make a difference. 20 to 30 minutes of moderate-paced aerobic activity like walking, cycling, or swimming multiple times a week has been shown to have positive long-term cognitive impacts.

Eat A Healthy Diet

Eating healthy—lots of fruit, vegetables, healthy oils, and fish, and minimizing junk food and fatty meats—is critical for brain health. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, tomatoes, and some berries improve memory and overall brain function. Omega-3 fatty acids in oily fish (and some grains) help prevent inflammation, preserve cognitive function, and avoid depression, stress, and anxiety. Protein contains high levels of amino acids, which cause neurons to produce neurotransmitters associated with mental alertness. The Mediterranean diet, DASH diet, and MIND diet have all positively impacted cognition and healthy brain functioning. 

Get Plenty Of Quality Sleep

Poor sleep is one of the biggest causes of reduced concentration and memory functioning. Scientists believe that sleep helps clear abnormal proteins in your brain and consolidates memories, boosting overall memory and brain health. Adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep nightly to benefit and perform at their cognitive peak daily. Try to get consecutive hours of sleep per night, not fragmented sleep of two- or three-hour increments. Getting consecutive hours allows your brain to consolidate and store your memories effectively.

Improve Your Blood Pressure and Cholesterol

High blood pressure increases the risk of cognitive decline. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of Dementia. Simple lifestyle modifications will help keep your blood pressure as low as possible and cholesterol at an appropriate level. Diet, exercise, weight control, limiting alcohol, and avoiding tobacco will go a long way toward improving both. Ask your doctor if you need help making changes to support a healthier lifestyle.

Maintain Low Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a significant risk factor for Dementia. Like lowering your

blood pressure or controlling cholesterol, you can help prevent diabetes by eating right, exercising regularly, and staying lean. Maintaining your blood sugar levels will also help with sugar crashes, which can cause brain fogginess.

Care For Your Emotions

Stress can affect mood and memory and promote anxiety. Engaging in weekly stress reduction exercises will improve your overall sense of calm. Intermittent and long-term stress impacts the brain negatively and has even been linked to inflammation and chronic illness. Learn how to stress less. Consider an appointment with a mental health provider if you need more support.

Build Social Networks

Positive relationships can be as meaningful as nutrition and physical activity to our health and well-being. Maintaining a strong social network can contribute to a longer, healthier life. Look for opportunities to connect with loved ones, friends, and others, especially if you live alone. Consider joining church or community events, volunteering, or becoming active in a club or cause you’re interested in. Research links solitary confinement to brain atrophy, so remaining socially active may have the opposite effect and strengthen the health of your brain.

Take Specific Supplements To Support Brain Health

While experts agree that a healthy diet and lifestyle are essential for brain health, research suggests certain supplements can also help support brain and cognitive health—especially for older adults, people following restricted diets, and people navigating certain medical conditions.

Nutrition affects cognitive health beyond fueling the body and brain throughout the day. Nutrients from your foods affect your brain function and can influence your risk for neurodegenerative disease. What you do or don’t eat can affect your brain and mental health. While experts agree a healthy diet and lifestyle are the most critical components of supporting brain health, research suggests the supplements below can help fill essential nutrient gaps in a person’s diet—and potentially support cognitive health and mood.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Of all the supplements recommended by experts for brain health, omega-3 fatty acids top the list. Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly the long-chain fatty acids DHA and EPA present in fatty fish, are essential for the development of the brain and the eyes and significantly influence mental health at all ages. These fatty acids help reduce inflammation in the body and the brain and are associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s, and Dementia. 


L-theanine is an amino acid found naturally in some mushrooms and green and black teas. It’s linked to an improvement in mental performance and focus.

Vitamin D

Though called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is a hormone. Vitamin D has hundreds of critical bodily functions essential for good brain health. Vitamin D is vital for early brain development, and deficiency is linked to conditions including Dementia, depression, autism, and schizophrenia.


Choline, found naturally in eggs, is an essential nutrient that helps your brain make acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter for memory and general cognition.

In one study of over 2,000 older adults, those who consumed high amounts of choline tended to have a lower risk of cognitive decline.


Resveratrol, an antioxidant polyphenol abundant in grapes and red wine, may help protect cells from damage, improve brain blood flow, and slow cognitive decline. Taking resveratrol supplements could prevent the deterioration of the hippocampus, an essential part of the brain associated with memory.

Lion’s Mane Mushrooms

Lion’s Mane is tied to various health benefits, including reducing inflammation, treating anxiety or depression, and enhancing cognitive function.

Lion’s mane mushrooms support oxygen flow to the brain, enhancing memory, focus, and concentration.

B Vitamins

The eight B vitamins play essential roles in brain health. The vitamin B complex supports healthy brain function and may protect against memory loss, cognitive decline, and neurodegenerative diseases.

Vitamins B6, B9 (folate), and B12 are necessary for homocysteine metabolism, a molecule created in methionine metabolism. Chances of neurodegeneration and cognitive decline increase with high blood homocysteine levels because it can cause oxidative stress and DNA damage.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Gut health is another essential factor for optimal cognitive function. Probiotics can benefit cognition via the gut-brain axis, which connects the gastrointestinal tract and the central nervous system through bidirectional neural, hormonal, and immune signaling pathways.

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