If you're feeling a bit vague, moody and forgetful lately, there could be a very good reason.
Eating the wrong foods, poor sleep quality, as well as body dehydration can all affect your brain functions, especially your mood, concentration and memory.
Feeling a bit vague and forgetful? It could be your diet. Image credit: Beermug/sxc.hu
The result? You might find yourself feeling more stressed, a bit depressed, unable to stay focused at work and anxious.
As we get older, it's natural for many to have memory decline but overall, maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help maintain (and sometimes even improve) your brain function.
Here are a few helpful ideas for keeping your mind sharp:
Keep your brain engaged. Challenge your mind consistently by learning a new skill, reading a book, doing a puzzle like the crosswords or Sudoku. Like all muscles in your body, they get stronger the more they're used. Your brain is the same. Keeping it active, keeps it functioning at its best level.
Keep your brain active by engaging it frequently with stimulating conversations, puzzles or reading a good book. Image credit Jay Lopez/sxc.hu
Have meaningful conversations. Connecting with others in engaging conversations helps decrease the likelihood of depression as it typically lifts your mood. Even a healthy debate can keep your brain at the top of its game.
Exercise. Staying fit and active increases good endorphins in your body which help with mood, lowers your blood pressure and also helps maintain your weight. All of these things contribute to a healthier mindset.
Take some time to step away from your surroundings and go for a walk or get a bit of exercise. Getting away from your work desk at lunchtime for some fresh air and a change of scenery can make a big difference in your concentration levels.
Change your scenery. Make time to get away from your desk at work during the day and go for a walk at lunchtime or if you can, walk to work. This time to clear your brain can help you stay focused while you're on the job.
Additionally, like everything else associated with a healthy body, maintaining a healthy diet helps enhance your brain activity and reduces risk of memory decline, lack of concentration, etc.
A few tips for a brain healthy diet include:
Starting the day with a healthy breakfast and drinking plenty of water.
Drink plenty of tea. Drinking tea can promote relaxation and help your brain refocus.
Drinking tea can help relax you and help your brain refocus. Image credit: Aradia Di/sxc.hu
Cut back on saturated fats in your diet that can increase your blood cholesterol levels (linked to reduced brain function). Instead use the 'good' fats that come from foods like nuts, avocados, and fish.
Fish in general has plenty of omega-3 oils which are needed for healthy brain function so boost up your fish intake as well as foods like walnuts, linseed and flaxseed. Foods such as blueberries, tomatoes, spinach, soy and broccoli are also beneficial in boosting your brain power.
Green veggies like broccoli are beneficial for boosting brain power. Image credit: Owen Wah/sxc.hu
Maintaining a healthy diet and keeping your brain active are two of the strongest weapons you have in combating cognitive decline so as you age, use them well!