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How to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Performing at Its Best

How to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Performing at Its Best

Ever wonder what your secret weapon is for conquering challenges, mastering new skills, and living a healthy life? Look no further than the amazing three pounds of tissue between your ears – your brain! It's the control centre for everything you do, from crafting witty comebacks to remembering your grocery list (hopefully!). But just like any high-performance machine, your brain needs a little TLC to keep it running at its peak.

Treat it kindly, and it will reward you with sharp thinking well into your golden years. The good news? By incorporating some science-backed habits and techniques, you can dramatically boost your brainpower and keep it firing on all cylinders for years to come. Are you ready to unlock the secrets of brain health? Let's dive right in!

The Importance of Brain Health

The human brain is a marvel of nature. It is an intricate network of neurons and synapses that controls every aspect of our existence. From the thoughts that we think to the memories we make, our brains work tirelessly, even while we sleep. 

Given the vital role that our brains play in our lives, it's not surprising that paying attention to brain health is so crucial. A healthy brain has far-reaching effects on our quality of life. It helps us to function optimally, keeps our memory sharp, and our concentration in top form. But the benefits don't stop there. Studies have shown that maintaining good brain health can also minimise the risk of brain diseases such as dementia and mental health disorders like depression.

In addition to these benefits, good brain health also contributes to our overall emotional well-being and improved adaptability to changing circumstances. It fosters creative thinking and promotes better problem-solving strategies. Moreover, there is a strong link between brain health and our overall physical well-being. An unhealthy brain can often lead to physical illness as well. 

5 Habits to Adopt to Unlock Your Brain's Potential

Prioritise Quality Sleep

Optimal sleep quality does more than just battle fatigue; it is indeed a cornerstone of good brain health. Research has identified a strong correlation between sleep and our brains' ability to function at an optimal level. Sleep allows our brain cells to get rid of toxic waste, aids memory consolidation, and enhances cognitive abilities such as decision-making and problem-solving skills. 

To prioritise sleep quality, consider implementing the following actionable tips into your nightly routine: 

  • Ensure that your bedroom is dark, quiet, and at a comfortable temperature.
  • Make it a habit to be in bed at the same time each night and wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends. This can help regulate your body's internal clock.
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and heavy meals in the evening.
  • Reduce your screen time at least an hour before bed since the blue light emitted by phones, tablets, computers, and TVs can interfere with your sleep.

Keep Learning

Did you know that one of the most effective ways to keep your brain sharp and healthy is to simply continue learning? That’s right. The process of acquiring new information and skills doesn't just build knowledge, it actually has the power to restructure your brain, enhancing its functionality and longevity. 

Researchers have found that continuous learning mitigates the effects of natural ageing processes on the brain, increases neural plasticity and ultimately encourages the generation of new neural pathways. 

Well, how exactly does this work? The brain, like any other organ in your body, follows the principle 'use it or lose it.' When you engage in regular mental exercise, you use different parts of your brain, effectively encouraging them to remain active and agile. 

So, preserving your brain health could be as simple as stepping outside of your comfort zone and learning new things. Here are some tips to help you on your brain-boosting journey: 

  • Embrace continuous education: Make a habit of educating yourself, whether through online courses, workshops, or just reading an enlightening book. The goal is to regularly expose your brain to new information.
  • Develop a hobby: Hobbies serve as fun ways to explore new knowledge areas. Gardening, painting, knitting, or even learning a new instrument could offer an enjoyable challenge to your brain.
  • Solve puzzles: This timeless activity engages your spatial and logical reasoning skills. From Sudoku to crosswords and jigsaw puzzles, these games directly stimulate cognitive function.
  • Learn a new language: This not only has cognitive benefits, but it also opens doors to understanding different cultures. Dual language proficiency is actually linked to a later onset of dementia symptoms.

Focus on Your Nutrition

Keeping your mind sharp goes beyond brain teasers and catching enough Zzz's. What you eat plays a surprisingly powerful role in your cognitive health. Here's the science behind why fuelling your body right is crucial for a healthy brain.

Studies show that saturated fats, those found in abundance in fast food, processed snacks, and fatty meats, can be bad news for your brain. They can trigger inflammation, making it harder to learn and remember things, and may even contribute to depression.

The good news? You can turn things around with some simple swaps. Choose lean protein sources like fish, poultry, or plant-based options over greasy burgers and hot dogs. Cook more meals at home to control the amount of fat sneaking into your food. And pay attention to food labels when you shop – "low-fat" or "fat-free" are your best friends.

Now, let's talk about the good stuff! Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, and plant-based sources like chia seeds and walnuts, are superstars for brain health. Research suggests they can improve memory, focus, and keep your mind sharp even as you age, potentially reducing the risk of Alzheimer's.

Antioxidants are another one you want to include in your diet for brain health. Think of antioxidants as tiny superheroes fighting free radicals that can damage your brain over time. They help keep your brain cells healthy and even encourage the growth of new ones! 

Some key antioxidant examples include:

  • Vitamin E: Found in nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables.
  • Vitamin C: Found in citrus fruits, berries, and bell peppers.
  • Beta-carotene: Found in orange and yellow fruits and vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and cantaloupe.
  • Flavonoids: Found in berries, apples, dark chocolate, and red wine (in moderation!).

To pack your diet with antioxidants, fill your plate with colourful fruits and veggies (think berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits). Swap refined grains for whole grains, and sprinkle in some nuts, seeds, and spices for an extra antioxidant and flavour boost.

Excellent products
"Excellent products, very easy to swallow" -    John W.
Our Brain Bundle includes three products that can help improve your brain function. The first supplement in this bundle is our Vitamin B12 which can contribute to normal neurological and psychological function as well as the formation of red blood cells. We've also included our Vitamin E and Vegan Omega 3 supplements which play a vital role in the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system.

Nutravita's Brain Bundle is your key to a sharper, healthier mind! This carefully curated bundle combines three powerful nutrients found to support brain function and cognitive health:

  • Vitamin B12: This essential vitamin plays a crucial role in nerve function and neurotransmitter production, both key factors for memory, focus, and overall brain health.
  • Vitamin E: A potent antioxidant, Vitamin E helps protect your brain cells from free radical damage, which can contribute to cognitive decline.
  • Vegan Omega-3: These essential fatty acids are like brain food! They support cognitive function, memory, and learning, while potentially reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

Move It or Lose It (Your Cognitive Edge, That Is!)

Exercise isn't just about sculpted biceps and a toned core – it's a secret weapon for your brainpower too! Regular physical activity has been shown to significantly boost cognitive function and even improve the structure of your brain.

Think of it like this: the more you move your body, the sharper your mind becomes. Studies show that people who exercise regularly tend to have better memory, learning, and overall brain health compared to those with more sedentary lifestyles.

Here's the science behind the magic: Exercise gets your heart pumping, sending a surge of oxygen and essential nutrients to your brain. It's like giving your thinking machine a much-needed power-up! Plus, exercise stimulates the release of growth factors that help create and regenerate brain cells. Pretty cool, right?

Ready to unlock your brain's full potential? Here's how to get started:

  • Start small and steady: Don't jump straight into marathon training. A brisk walk or a jog is a great way to begin.
  • Find your fitness fun: Choose activities you actually enjoy! Whether it's dancing to your favourite tunes, swimming laps, or cycling outdoors, pick something that keeps you motivated.
  • Make it a daily habit: Aim for at least 20-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise most days of the week. Consistency is key!
  • Grab a buddy (or a group!): Exercising with a friend or joining a fitness class can boost motivation and make workouts more enjoyable.

Prioritise Your Mental Health

Taking care of your mental health isn't some fad – it's essential for keeping your whole brain happy and healthy! Here's why: chronic stress, if left unchecked, can wreak havoc on your grey matter, shrinking brain structures and messing with your thinking skills. 

One of the best first moves you can make is to connect with a therapist. Through therapy like psychotherapy or cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), you can learn tools to manage life's challenges and keep stress in check. A 2019 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) even showed that CBT can significantly reduce stress symptoms and improve cognitive performance – talk about a win-win!

Mindfulness practices are another excellent way to reduce stress and promote cognitive health. Mindfulness involves focusing on the present moment and accepting things as they are, similar to meditation. According to research published in Frontiers in Medicine (2014), regular mindfulness exercises can even change the brain areas associated with learning, memory, and managing emotions, leading to sharper thinking.

Incorporating relaxation techniques into your daily routine is also crucial for managing your mental health. Deep breathing exercises, yoga, or a relaxing massage are all excellent ways to reduce stress and boost your brainpower. These activities increase blood flow to the brain, delivering more oxygen and nutrients, which can improve cognitive function. A 2016 study even showed that regular massages can lead to significant cognitive improvements.

The bottom line: Taking steps to manage your mental health is a no-brainer (pun intended) for optimal brain function. Don't hesitate to seek support and embrace relaxation techniques – your brain will thank you for it!


Written by Riya Lakhani-Kanji MSc ANutr

Riya Lakhani-Kanji MSc ANutr is a registered nutritionist and health writer with a special interest in plant-based nutrition. She has completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Human Nutrition, and has developed a passion for writing about all things plant-based.

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