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What Makes Your Brain Healthy?

5 factors that contribute to a healthy brain

Brain health is a critical piece of your overall health. It underlies your ability to communicate, make decisions, problem-solve and live a productive and useful life. Because the brain controls so much of daily function, it is arguably the single most valuable organ in the human body.

So what makes a brain healthy?

Exercise

Regular exercise has been shown to slow age-related brain deterioration and maintain cognitive abilities that typically decrease with age. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, avoid vascular disease leading to stroke and helps maintain a healthy supply of blood pumping to the brain. Exercising is as easy as going for a walk, playing a sport or attending an exercise class, among many others.

Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Examples of mental exercises include logic-strengthening education and puzzles. Games such as chess and sudoku use strategic thinking, making them mental exercises as well.

Sleep

Sleep plays an important role in brain health. Humans spend about one-third of each day sleeping, and sleep is key to brain health. Sleep plays an important role in the function of the brain, the immune system and many other systems in the body. Sleep keeps you sharp, focused and able to make thoughtful decisions. While different age groups require different amounts of sleep, the general recommendation is around six to seven hours a night. This consistent, restful sleep gives your brain time to dispose of metabolic waste and optimise memory.

Environment

Your environment can also influence brain health. Environmental toxins include contaminants in water, food and the air. These toxins can all lead to neurological issues such as stroke, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders.

Another type of environmental risk is repetitive or major head trauma. Caused by accident or in extreme sports, head injuries create an injurious setting for your brain cells.

Diet

In the same way that diet is important for the entire body, it’s important for the brain. A balanced diet that includes a variety of fruit, vegetables, protein and whole grains nourishes the body and brain. A diet rich in processed foods, salt and refined sugars, however, can promote inflammation and vascular disease, resulting in tissue damage.

Access to Care

Finally, the availability and accessibility of care and exposure to preventative programs are important for brain health. Access to care makes it possible to catch issues early, ensure proper treatment and prevent further health issues. When healthcare is not accessible, brain health is impacted.

Introduction to Brain Health

7 Conditions that Impact Brain Health

Why does brain health matter?

The brain is a complex and fascinating organ that should be taken care of from the time in utero to the life you live today and beyond. Unfortunately, there are a lot of conditions that can impact brain health. These diseases and disorders include:

  • Vascular diseases
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Brain tissue injuries
  • Inflammation
  • Malnutrition and vitamin deficiencies
  • Immune-mediated diseases
  • Mental health


Want to learn more about brain health?

Download 7 Conditions that Impact Brain Health, a guide from the World Federation of Neurology.

Because access to care is so important, medical systems and public health initiatives play a significant role in overall brain health. There are many local, regional and global advocates for protecting and improving brain health. Along with the support of patients and neurologists, organisations like the World Health Organisation and the World Federation of Neurology contribute to furthering worldwide brain health initiatives and research into brain disease prevention and treatment.

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