Introducing our latest blog with Vivid’s in-house nutritional therapist, Milda.
**Note for readers – we love science. We aim to support all statements about brain health with credible, original scientific papers, not third-hand knowledge or hear-say. You’ll be able to find references to all studies at the end of each blog. If you want any further information please do not hesitate to email us!
Body and mind practices to keep your brain healthy long-term
I’m sure you’ll agree that the brain is the most important organ of the body- it’s where the majority of decision- making, insights and explorations happen. For quality of life, excellent performance and creativity, you brain needs to be kept in top shape.
Nutritious diet and hydration are great steps towards longevity, but it’s far from the full picture. Find out what you can do to boost the sharpness of your brain and gift optimum cognitive health to your amazing brain.
You certainly don’t need to join an ashram or get crystals in order to harness the incredible benefits of meditation. Meditation is no longer seen as a spiritual practice only, due to tons of science research that supports its effectiveness for human brain health.
When you meditate, your brain starts to produce more of neurotransmitter GABA (1) and reduce levels of norepinephrine (2), which are both associated with better resilience, lower stress and anxiety levels. Consistent meditation has shown to rewire the brain and decrease the size of the amygdala- part of the brain, responsible for increased stress response and fear (2), promoting a sense of calm and resilience.
And if you’re still on the fence whether you have 10-15 min daily to boost your brain power naturally, meditation is also associated with increased longevity (3) and your brain’s connectivity (4, 5). A small price to pay for improved memory, focus and a youthful brain.
Get some deep sleep
Sleep has a crucial role to play in healthy functioning of our brain. During sleep, the brain clears out of metabolites and toxins created through the day (6), which is the equivalent of taking out the bin bags or doing the laundry. Imagine the interior of your brain if you missed out the ‘bin collection’ a couple of nights in the row.
Not getting quality zzz’s is directly linked to decreased volume of grey matter in the brain (7) and abundant grey matter is associated with good memory, problem solving and reasoning. A brand-new study identified that lack of deep sleep in particular increases markers of unwanted proteins in the brain (8), associated with Alzheimer’s, poor brain health and risk of brain deterioration long-term.
Although you cannot use weekends to ‘catch up’ on the sleep you missed during the week (9), once you get a couple of nights of deep sleep under your belt, you should see immediate improvements in memory, information processing and focus.
Reduce technology and social media exposure
Technology has never been more advanced, quicker and available as it is today. Toddlers know how to use an iPad before they know how to talk and technology surrounds us at work, at home and most definitely in social situations.
Relentless use of technology and social media activate the release of dopamine, neurotransmitter linked to reward and achievement (10). The trouble is that technology use may easily develop into an addiction and change brain chemistry, which may lead to social isolation and depression (11).
So to keep your brain resilient, healthy and functioning at its optimum, create routines and limit technology exposure to set hours or times of the day.
Spend more time outdoors
Spending time outdoors can help fill up the needed vitamin D stores, especially in the darker months of the year. However, getting out and spending time in nature can do much more, than just create a much-needed break away from the computer.
Research repeatedly shows that by taking a short walk in the park or spending as little as 5 minutes outdoors (12, 13) helps ease brain fatigue, increases the ability to focus and boosts creativity.
Moving and exercising outdoors at a moderate pace is extremely beneficial for boosting cognitive performance and memory (14, 15). So if you’re serious about keeping your brain in a top shape, get outdoors daily and get moving. Your brain will thank you for it.