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5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp

By: SmallBizClub


Tips to Keep Your Brain Sharp

The brain’s complex powers of memory and thinking start to fade as early as age 45, according to the extensive Whitehall II study on memory and aging. Regardless of your current age, if you are already struggling to put names to faces, remember where you put your car keys or phone, or simply to stay focused at work, then it is time to place a premium on keeping your brain sharp.

From what you eat to what you do each day, you can take simple measures to keep your memory intact and firing on all cylinders. These 5 tips will help keep your brain sharp, active and engaged:

Ditch the sugar and increase the antioxidants.

Sugar is your brain’s worst enemy, creating inflammation while decreasing memory, learning and focus. Do your best to limit sugar (including sugar in soft drinks and energy drinks as well as in processed foods) to a special, occasional treat and fill your body up instead with antioxidant-rich foods that can improve cognitive health and performance. Opt for wild-caught fish, blueberries and red grapes, nuts and seeds, eggs, whole grains, avocadoes, leafy green vegetables and even a little dark chocolate to boost brain power. Coffee is also full of antioxidants. Eating and living well also helps to prevent diseases such as Type II diabetes and hypertension, which can hasten cognitive decline. Your diet fuels your body and your mind, so it pays to make thoughtful food choices.

Incorporate supplements such as nootropics into your diet.

Ideally, we would consume every vitamin and mineral we need through our diets, but that is rarely the case. Supplements can help replace what is missing in your diet and give you an energy and brain-power boost as well. In particular, nootropics or smart drugs are being recognized for their ability to enhance mental focus and stamina. Made from dietary and herbal supplements, nootropics can help with multitasking, decision-making and mindful thinking. “Noos” is from the Greek word for “mind,” and the smart drugs are all about increasing mindfulness.

Switch things up.

Have you ever tried brushing your teeth or washing your hair with your non-dominant hand? Driving a completely new route to work? Standing on one foot instead of two while you make dinner or talk with a friend, or reordering your typical daily schedule? When you challenge yourself and make your brain work harder, it works better – reducing mental fog and increasing alertness, according to Ruth Curran, author of “Being Brain Healthy.” Try simple shifts that make your brain and body work in new ways to maintain sharpness and focus.

Never stop learning.

Learning should not end with formal education. Ongoing education and learning leads to improved mental functioning and activity. Challenge your brain to learn a new language, a new skill or a new activity – this can help to prevent memory loss, according to a study on cognitive engagement. While your job likely uses plenty of brain power, hobbies and volunteering can also spur memory retention and help to keep your brain sharp.

Go to sleep.

A good night’s sleep helps to solidify your memory. While you are asleep, your brain discards or saves memories. On the other hand, lack of sleep makes it incredibly difficult to concentrate and excel at new tasks. If you are a fan of the afternoon cat nap, there is some good news: Naps can also be very effective in increasing performance, alertness, learning and stamina. In addition, you can check out various apps that can help you monitor the quality of your sleep to determine how often you are waking in the night. All in all, turning out the lights and saying “goodnight” can be far better for your brain than pushing through to complete one last project or item on your to-do list.

Whether you are 25, 45 or 65, the right combination of physical and mental fitness can keep your brain sharp for years to come. When you are focused and mentally strong, you will be more productive at work, more present in your relationships and better able to navigate whatever life brings your way.

Author: Dan Scalco is the founder and marketing director at Digitalux, a digital-marketing agency located in Hoboken, N.J. Throughout his career, he has helped hundreds of businesses save time, increase leads and maximize sales. You can connect with him on Twitter @DanScalco.

Published: July 11, 2017

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