5 Ways to Boost Your Brain Health: Why Nutrition, Exercise and Being Sociable Are Key

There are five key things one can do to help maintain brain health and engage the mind. Think long and hard about these changes to your lifestyle.

Improve Your Diet

“Good nutrition can help your mind as well as your body,” states Harvard Medical School. “For example, people that eat a Mediterranean-style diet that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils (olive oil) and plant sources of proteins are less likely to develop cognitive impairment and dementia.”

Get Exercise

“A surprising amount of evidence points to this as the No. 1 thing you can do to improve brain health,” says Dr. Barry Gordon, a neurologist at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Whether through walking, cycling or other activities, working up a sweat can help control obesity, hypertension and stress — all of which may be factors in increasing the risk of dementia.

Sleep Tight

“Sleep is when the body gets rid of toxins and replenishes itself, and it’s also a time when memory is consolidated,” points out Dr. Silky Pahlajani, a neurologist and neuropsychiatrist at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “When we don’t get proper sleep, this can lead to memory, focus and attention issues.”

Challenge Yourself

“Just as physical activity keeps your body in shape, activities that engage your mind can keep your brain in shape,” explains the Mayo Clinic. “And those activities may help improve brain function and memory. Do crossword puzzles. Read. Play games. Learn to play a musical instrument. Try a new hobby.”

Be Sociable

According to experts at the University of Colorado’s UC Health: “Social interaction can protect your brain from declining and build cognitive reserve — how well your brain uses the resources it has available.” It can also “reduce loneliness and social isolation, factors that can lead to a decline in brain health.”