By: Shannon Spence
To live a long, happy life, your gray matter matters, and maintaining your brain takes effort on multiple fronts.
Research indicates that a combination of brain-preserving activities works best, offering a greater number of benefits to the brain than if performing just one. The ideal mix combines healthy nutrition with mental, social, and physical activities.(1)
A clinical trial of older adults indicated that decline of cognitive function could be slowed by combining physical activity, advice on nutrition, cognitive training, social activities, and proper management of heart health risk factors.(2)
Other tips to help promote brain health:
Drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes negatively affect the brain, so do your best to use in moderation or avoid them altogether.(3) As a Go365® member, you have access to courses and interactive tools to help you learn to drink responsibly and quit tobacco. You can also earn Points when these tools are listed as a Recommended Activity. To verify, sign in to Go365.com, click on “Activities” from the navigation bar and filter to “Recommended” to view your Recommended Activities.
Keep blood flow strong
Good blood flow delivers essential nutrients and oxygen to the brain and flushes out waste. However, high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity may lead to clogged arteries and hence reduced blood flow. Make it a point to manage these conditions to maintain or improve brain function.(4) Unsure of what your numbers are? Get a biometric screening, which will give you a detailed picture of your health. You can also earn up to 4,000 Go365 Points per program year for completing this activity and submitting your results.
Eat a good diet
Omega-3 fatty acids, as well as vitamins B, C, D, and E, help protect the brain. While trials have not shown conclusively that taking these in high doses will prevent dementia, it can’t hurt to eat a healthy diet that contains these beneficial nutrients. A Mediterranean-inspired mix of fish, chicken, veggies, and fruit – with little to no dairy or meat products – may be ideal.(5) Keep a weekly food log through the Go365 Appand earn up to 10 Points per week.
Stay active (physically, mentally, and socially)
Physical activity, which has been associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline, should play a key role in your wellness regimen. Activities that stimulate and challenge the mind, such as learning new skills or taking educational courses, may bring short- and long-term brain gains, including lowering your risk of dementia. Staying socially connected is also vital to your brain’s health and has been linked to a lower risk of depression. Through Go365, you have a variety of options to earn Points and stay active, whether that be joining a sports league, participating in an athletic event or tracking your workouts by connecting a compatible device. Sign in to Go365.com or the Go365 App and navigate to the “Activities” section to explore your options.
1, 2 “Brain Health,” Alzheimer’s Association, accessed June 2016, http://www.alz.org/we_can_help_brain_health_maintain_your_brain.asp
3, 4 Amy Robinson, “How to keep your brain healthy,” The Guardian, accessed June 2016, http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/12/how-to-keep-your-brain-healthy-nobel-prize-medicine
5 Nicholas Bakalar, “The Mediterranean Diet’s Brain Benefits,” New York Times, accessed June 2016, http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/30/the-mediterranean-diets-brain-benefits/?_r=0
*Adult children are not eligible to earn Points or Bucks for biometric screening completion or in-range results.