Your brain is your body’s control center and keeping it healthy helps keep your whole body healthy. Often times, however, our physical ailments take center stage. But did you know that mental health and physical health are connected? This is why it is important for us—from birth to old age—to keep our brains happy and healthy. Whether we do this by working on our daily crossword or carving out time each day to focus on activities that keep us positive, activities that improve brain health improve our overall health, too.
When it comes to maintaining brain health, there are four specific areas on which to focus:
Nutrition: Keeping a healthy diet of veggies, fruits, whole grains and lean protein (nuts, chicken, turkey) not only does a body good, but your brain as well. People who are overweight or obese and those with high fat/cholesterol diets are much more likely to develop dementia.
Exercise: It’s no secret that physical activity is essential for the health of your body but when it comes to your mental health, exercise also improves blood flow to your brain and encourages brain cell development. It also reduces your chances for heart attack, stroke and other events that may be related to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of memory loss.
Social activity: Doing what you love and being around people you love can contribute to brain health. In combination with a brain healthy diet and daily exercise, social activity can keep your brain in top form.
Mental activity: Think about your brain as a “muscle;” it stays strong only if you exercise it. The best exercises for brain health are reading, writing, solving puzzles (like crosswords), playing games, going to lectures or classes, and doing other mentally stimulating activities.
Keeping your brain healthy requires a mixture of all of these so take the first step to keeping your control center in control and focus on brain-healthy living. For a nudge in the right direction, visit Swedish/Issaquah for a free workshop series on Saturday, March 9th from 9 a.m.-noon called “Taking Control of Your Brain Health.” Attend any or all of the hour-long brain health workshops led by doctors and occupational therapists at the new Swedish hospital in the Highlands, including “Defining Brain Health,” “Exercise, Diet and Brain Health” and “Engaging the Brain.” Take this time to remember the importance of brain health as well as physical health!
Registration for “Taking Control of Your Brain Health” is required. Visit www.swedish.org/classes or call (206) 386-2502 for more information and to reserve a space in the workshop.