Your brain is the most important part of your body.
Your brain regulates all your digestive processes; it helps keep your heart beating; it controls your breathing. Pretty much every system that operates on autopilot while you’re alive relies on your brain to do so.
Keeping that in mind, it becomes obvious that it’s important to keep your brain in good condition. It’s best to keep your brain protected throughout your entire life; however, those who didn’t have the chance should fear not! You can still protect your cognitive abilities throughout middle age.
Why your brain needs protection
It’s important to follow the techniques and tips in this article because your brain, much like any other part of your body, isn’t invincible. As you age, your brain starts to show signs of deterioration.
Elderly people can sometimes develop mental maladies, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. These diseases can greatly impede a person’s ability to remember, to produce new ideas, and to perform cognitive functions in general.
Mental degeneration is just as natural a process as physical degeneration, and can be very difficult to avoid. Fortunately, you can slow the process of mental deterioration by making sure you follow certain lifestyle guidelines. Some of these techniques can even hinder the development of mental diseases after they’ve begun to be an issue.
1. Eat a proper diet
Food is the most important thing for long-term maintenance of your brain. Fruit and vegetables, in particular, are the body’s prime source of nutrients; nutrients are the fuel that our bodies and brains require to function.
Each fruit and vegetable contains a unique combination of nutrients that works together to provide benefits for the body. People reaching middle age and beyond should make sure that their diets include plenty of foods containing these nutrients, since they’re particularly helpful in preventing the onset of mental disease.
- Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that inhibits oxidative damage, a naturally occurring process that happens as we age. Excessive oxidation can lead to mental and physical diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Vitamin C also helps the body to absorb the other nutrients it needs. Foods high in vitamin C include oranges and broccoli.
- The B Complex is the name given to an assortment of different vitamins and minerals. Each B vitamin has its own set of unique benefits, but many of them share similar functions – they help the body metabolize carbohydrates, providing energy to the brain, and thus help to ensure its proper function and prevent the early onset of damage. B vitamins can be found in a wide assortment of different foods.
- Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely good for cognitive health. The brain is made of almost three-quarters fat, so ensuring that your diet contains enough fat is vital for your brain to function as well as possible. Omega-3s are healthy fats that can be found in high amounts in fish, avocados, and flax seeds.
2. Get enough rest
It’s recommended that adults sleep for six to eight hours a night. Sleep is the time in which the brain repairs itself and makes new neurotransmitters to use the following day, so if you don’t get enough rest, your brain won’t have enough fuel to function!
Sleep can become more difficult for people as they age for a number of reasons, but here are a couple of tips to help ensure that you get a proper sleep every night.
- Nutritional supplements – some people get nutritional deficiencies as they age, but may not be able to fix them due to food allergies or other issues. Supplementing these nutrients directly can eliminate nutrition-related sleep deficiencies. Melatonin is a particularly useful supplement. It’s a hormone that our brain is supposed to produce in accordance with the circadian rhythm (day and night cycle), but a lot of people’s circadian rhythms get out of whack. This can lead to difficulties maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
- Make sure you get enough exercise during the day – otherwise you won’t get tired!
3. Avoid stress
Stressful situations can disrupt your sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation can lead to a huge list of problems for people of any age, but those who are passing through middle age can feel the effects more than younger folk.
Avoiding stress can be as simple – or as challenging! – as changing your work or social environment. You may need to adjust the way you react to certain things, or you may need to remove yourself entirely from the stressful situations.
4. Practise meditation
Meditation is a practice that’s been used for millennia by various cultures and by people of all ages.
Meditation enhances the clarity of your mind. A clear mind is the foundation of a healthy brain – and the opposite is true for a murky mind. Having a clear train of thought allows you to eliminate stress, to focus more directly on things important to you, and to be more aware of your surroundings and your health.
- Practice meditation in the morning to prepare yourself for a healthy, focused day. Meditation can be as simple as breathing exercises.
- Some meditations can be practised throughout the day. The school of mindfulness teaches you how to be aware of every moment of the day, and how to be present in your mind and body. Living in this state allows you to have complete control over your brain and body, preventing unwanted thought spirals that can distract you from your daily life.
5. Be happy
Being content with your life is super-important for anyone! Lots of people don’t realize how much being happy can have an impact on your brain health, though, so it’s important to know this as early in life as possible.
Of course, nobody can simply flip a switch and become happy. But, like the other things we’ve discussed in this article, being happy is an art that everyone deserves to practise. You can start by eating healthily, surrounding yourself with good friends, and trying to live a life that suits your needs and desires as much as possible.
Your brain keeps you alive, lets you communicate with others, and is what allows you to laugh and love.
Keeping your brain healthy means that you can do all these things for longer. A good balance of a healthy diet, loving friends and family, and personal adventures all equate to a strong and healthy brain, so make sure that you’re living a life that you’ll be proud to look back on.