In this blog post, I want to share with you, my 3 top tips to look after your brain. The brain is one of those organs in the body that we can tend to forget when it comes to fitness. Ask yourself – “Have you neglected the grey matter for too long?” If so, these tips will help your brain get into great shape in a very short period of time. Go easy on yourself – instead of trying to implement them all today, why not try and work them into your schedule over the coming days or even over the next fortnight?

1. Drink more water

The brain is made up of 80% water and this water plays an essential part in its function. When we are dehydrated, we can reduce our sense of well-being and significantly reduce our performance and our learning. We are also seriously risking our long-term mental health. On average, the human body can lose up to 2.5 liters of water per day. These losses are through the lungs, skin (sweat), and through our urine. We must aim to at least replenish this loss on a daily basis. Try drinking more water throughout the day and eating more fruit and vegetables, as these too are full of water.

2. Eat the right fats for your brain

The brain is made up of a total of 60% fat, which includes – saturated fat and cholesterol. Now most of us may at first consider fat to be unhealthy, however, there are some fats that our brains need to function normally. 20% of the brain’s fat should be made up of essential fatty acids or Omega-3 and Omega-6. These two essential fatty acids are important as they can not be made within your body, so you need to make sure that you are getting them from your diet. That is why you might hear health practitioners suggesting that you eat more oily fish as these are well-known sources of Omega-3 and Omega-6.

3. Start to exercise daily

Keep your brain active by keeping your body in shape! Scientists have shown us that regular exercise can massively reduce the effects of depression, anxiety, and stress. In fact, in a lot of cases, exercise can work just as well as antidepressants. Keeping your grey matter happy will also keep it healthy! You can do this by introducing a daily brisk walk through the park or maybe taking a dance class!

Why is prevention important in relation to brain health?

Recent estimates suggest that mental illness, including dementia and depression, account for 13% of the global disease burden, exceeding both cardiovascular disease and cancer1.  In 2016 dementia became England and Wales’ foremost cause of death2, and current estimates indicate that 850,000 people in the UK are living with dementia, with this figure forecasted to exceed 1 million by 20253.  In the UK mental-health issues are currently estimated to effect 1 in 6 people4. The importance of prevention is amplified by the lack of disease-modifying treatments for dementia, the large-scale failure of pharmaceutical trials and the restricted effectiveness of conventional treatments for mental illness.  Preventative measures in dementia are also important because associated neuropathological changes can precede diagnosis by more than two decades.

What does the research tell us about the impact of preventative strategies?

A lot of the research into the relationship between lifestyle factors, including dietary patterns, and both cognitive and mental-health has been observational. Observational studies typically track changes in a cohort of individuals over time but are non-experimental in nature as they do not involve a specific intervention or a control group. However, a systematic literature review revealed a number of experimental studies, focused on the prevention of symptoms of cognitive decline or mental health, have taken place in recent years using interventions which simultaneously target a number of lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise and cognitive activities.  The evidence from these studies suggests that such multidomain interventions can have a positive impact on the prevention of both depression and cognitive decline.

4. Brain-boosting add-on-s!

If you are ready to start boosting your brain, then try adding some of these brain-boosting ingredients into your diet each day! You will be surprised at the difference they can make!

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