To celebrate Brain Awareness Week, let’s talk about three ways to boost brain health! As a culture, we’re finally starting to understand that good wellness rituals aren’t just about treating health issues — they’re about preventing them.
Many of us are prioritizing wellness in an effort to keep our bodies healthy. We try to eat a balanced diet and buy organic whenever we can. To fill in gaps in our diet, we choose high quality supplements. We try to keep our stress in check. We practice self-care. We love our bodies, and we make an effort to show it.
But what about our minds? Weighing in at a mere three pounds, the brain is by far the most complex of our organs. It’s the center of our intellect and controls all of our movements and behaviors. The body is nothing without the brain, yet we don’t always give this vital organ the attention it deserves.
Just as you work to keep your body well, you can take steps to make sure your brain is in top form. Here are three ways to boost brain health.
Not only does exercise improve physical fitness, it also helps keep your brain healthy. Aerobic exercise may increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain associated with learning and memory, according to a 2018 study conducted at the University of British Columbia.
And you don’t have to clock hours at the gym every day to reap the brain-growing effects of aerobic exercise. Study participants did nothing more than walk briskly for one hour, twice a week. As long as you break a sweat for 120 minutes weekly, you’re likely to get results.
Exercise is also helpful for relieving stress, which can take its toll on cognition — it’s hard to think straight when you’re consumed with worry. And exercise can improve your mood, thanks to its ability to modulate feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.
Just like the rest of your body, your brain needs the right nutrients to be healthy and strong. Try adding these brain-boosting foods to your regular dietary rotation.
And because what you drink can also boost brain health, consider swapping your regular cup of joe for Wildcrafter’s Creative Focus blend. It combines organic, fair trade Arabica coffee with these botanicals known to support healthy brain function:
Adjusting your diet — and your coffee routine — to incorporate these brain boosters can help keep you sharp and focused.
Mindfulness meditation has steadily grown in popularity as people embrace this practice as a way to find inner peace. Skeptical about the power of meditation to affect the brain? Consider the evidence.
Sara Lazar, a neuroscientist at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital, conducted studies involving brain scans of meditators. She found that people who had been meditating for a long time had increased grey matter in the auditory and sensory cortex, which she attributes to the mindful attention paid to breathing, sounds, and other stimuli during meditation. She also discovered more grey matter in the frontal cortex, the part of the brain associated with memory and decision making.
According to Lazar, meditators in their fifties had the same amount of gray matter in one part of the prefrontal cortex as people in their twenties in spite of the fact that the cortex is known to shrink as we age. Like exercise, meditation actually changes the brain. And while these studies focused on the long term benefits of meditation, subsequent research showed meditation can positively boost brain health after only eight weeks.
If you’ve been wanting to try meditation but aren’t sure where to start, look no further than your smartphone. There are a number of mindfulness apps that can guide you on your zen-finding, brain-boosting journey. Here are a few of our favorites.
When it comes to your health, caring for your body is only half the battle. We hope you’ll be able to incorporate these brain-strengthening tips into your daily life. If you’re already making lifestyle choices to benefit your wellbeing, adding the items on this list should be a no-brainer!
Try adding Wildcrafter’s botanically-infused blends to your daily ritual! Join our list below and get 20% off your first order!
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