The Brain is the most valuable organ in the human body. Therefore, it must function in the most optimal conditions to provide a homeostatic atmosphere for accurate bodily functions. We can further define the preservation of optimal brain integrity, mental and cognitive function, and the absolute absence of severe neurological disorders at any age as Brain Health.
The human brain, the spinal cord making up the Central Nervous System (CNS) controls the human body and its functions. Communication, Sensory function, digestion, discretion, memory, messaging, balance, breathing, every single mental or physical activity is initiated and executed by the brain. Its optimal health is vital to a high standard of life at any age.
Do you want a complete and optimal cognitive life? If so, keep your brain healthy.
What Is Cognitive Function Or Cognition?
Cognition simply means using your brain. A proper definition thus; refers to the mental processes involved in the acquisition of knowledge, manipulation of information, and reasoning. Cognitive functions cover the domains of memory, learning, attention, perception, decision-making, and language abilities.
The following affect Cognitive Function
- Environmental factors such as air pollution, social and built environments, and population composition of living areas
- Genetic factors
- Diseases- specifically congenital diseases
- Lifestyle- diet, exercise, or lack of a balance of both
- Demographic and social factors
Six Pillars Of Brain Heath
The below guidelines can help combat a large number of the above factors in order to uphold an adequate quality of life and be suitable for all ages.
- Physical Exercise: This is known to increase blood flow, and thus provides enough oxygen to the brain. Exercise also triggers the production of endorphins which reduce the sensation of pain and improve one’s mood. Such exercises as sports, tai chi, plain walking, aerobics, strength and flexibility training are great options.
- Food and Nutrition: Age, unhealthy diet choices, and pollution have an acute effect on the brain by creating oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has profound signatures in many cancers. Luckily there are foods available that can combat the oxidation, they are called anti-oxidants and must be consumed regularly. A dietician can guide you on this. Also, a cut down on smoking and alcohol consumption is a healthy lifestyle choice.
- Medical Screening: There are some conditions and habits that accelerate brain damage and induce dementia. Such as diabetes, hypertension, smoking, depression, high cholesterol, obesity, etc. Regular checkups will reveal if you are liable to them and early interventions can be executed.
- Sleep and Relaxation: This is nature’s mechanism for recharging the body and mind. Sleep helps improve immunity, mood, and energy levels. Sleep also helps reverse the beta-amyloid plaque build-up which is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Stress management is vital for relaxation. Engage in meditation, laughter therapy, and meditation to aid stress management.
- Social Interactions: Stay connected with people that make you happy- friends and family. Studies show that keeping in touch helps boost morale, increase cognitive abilities, and improve memory. Our world is technology advancing and social media, the internet, and applications have made it easy- take good advantage of these tools. Also, engage with Charities, philanthropy- whatever cause you believe in, such is known to increase self-image.
- Mental Fitness: The mind also needs attention. Indulge in puzzles, crosswords, and brain teasers. Learn a new hobby like singing, dancing, sports, or a card game. Join a special interest group. Shake off monotony in your daily life by making little changes often. The results are astronomical.
- Stay Hydrated: Your brain is strongly influenced by your hydration status. Studies show that mild dehydration, such as 1-3% loss of body weight impairs many aspects of brain function. The Journal of Nutrition mentions a study in young women, where researchers discovered that fluid loss of 1.4% after exercise impairs mood and concentration. It also increases the frequency of headaches. In young men, 1.6% fluid loss was detrimental to working memory and increased feelings of anxiety and fatigue.
In Conclusion, understanding the six pillars of brain health is pertinent to prime cognitive function and brain health. There is no dispute that everyone wants a healthy life, but work must be done to enjoy it at all stages. Stay Informed, Stay Healthy.