Building better brain health always starts with looking at your fundamental lifestyle habits and routines. These should be looked at first before looking for other 'hacks' or 'tips/tricks/technologies' to take your brain to the next level.
As such, here are the 6 top lifestyle strategies to support and boost your brain health.
This is no surprise. The food you eat directly corresponds to your overall health and in particular the health of your brain.
General nutrition tips we recommend are: No sugar (reduce inflammation), don't eat more than required (or in a huge calorie surplus unless you're trying to build muscle), and eat plenty of greens and micronutrients (from vegetables and fruits). Micronutrients provide vitamins, minerals as well as pre-biotic fibre for your gut.
Now, nutrition tips specifically to help further improve brain health:
- Eat fish that contain omega 3 fatty acids (particularly salmon)
- Blueberries are some of the best health foods for the brain that contains antioxidants
- A daily dose of MCT oils is great for brain health and staving off neurodegeneration.
- Drink coffee and tea that contains healthy polyphenols
- Turmeric is a potent anti-inflammatory
- Eat broccoli and green, leafy vegatables which contains anti oxidants and Vitamin K
- Eat dark chocolate – Rich in flavonoids, caffeine and anti-oxidants
- Eat nuts/seeds which contain healthy fats, antioxidants and vitamin E (Some contain omega 3 fatty acids)
- Eat eggs which includes B vitamins, folate and choline
- Eat avocado which includes vitamins C, E, K, B6 and riboflavin, niacin, folate, magnesium, potassium and is a good source of healthy fats (Omega 3 fatty acids).
Getting adequate sleep quantity as well as quality is crucial for healthy brain function. Reduction in total sleep time leads to day time sleepiness and fatigue, which can significantly reduce your ability to focus or think deeply.
Getting adequate sleep (quantity and quality) is important, as during the sleep period your brain repairs itself by clearing out any build up of unwanted proteins/plaques such as Beta-Amyloid. B-Amyloid may be an indicator for Alzheimer's disease
We recommend sleeping at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and tracking your sleep using a device such as the Oura Ring to help you optimise your sleeping habits.
Exercise, in particular aerobic exercise has been shown to significantly increase the levels of neurotrophins such as BDNF - a protein which causes neurogenesis and helps grow and repair neurons in the brain.
Meditation is a daily mindfulness and stillness practice that can be performed in a variety of ways, but usually involves sitting still with eyes closed, listening to calming music, a guided talk or just repeating a mantra. These practices usually last 10-15 minutes per day.
Meditation has been shown to increase grey matter density in the brain, improve mood and reduce stress. It has also been shown to cause changes in gene expression leading to reduced inflammation and many other health benefits.
For those starting out, we recommend downloading the app Headspace or Calm to get started with your guided meditation practice.
5. Gratitude practice
Most of our day is spent thinking negative thoughts or thinking about what we don't have or what's missing in our lives.
The practice of being grateful, saying or writing what you're grateful for each day, has been shown to have positive and lasting effects on the brain.
From improving physical and mental wellbeing, to reducing stress and improving mood.
Once you begin actively practicing gratitude each day, you will notice that your brain begins to search for deeper meaning and small things to appreciate more of. This helps to rewire your brain to see the good, positive things in life rather than the negative.
To begin your gratitude practice, we recommend purchasing a journal to write in each day. Simply take 5 minutes out of each day to sit in silence and write down 3 things you're most grateful for that day.
Supplements act as additional forms of nutrition that can be added to either fix/fill nutritional deficiencies or supercharge your health further by looking at other plant compounds/botanicals, amino acids, medicinal mushrooms and more.
The first goal with supplementation for brain health would be to fix any nutrient deficiencies that you may not be getting from your diet.
For example, if you're lacking in fish, then its recommend to supplement with Omega 3 supplements like fish oil, krill oil or algae oil.
If you're lacking in eggs or meats, it may be wise to supplement with additional Choline sources such as CDP-Choline or Alpha-GPC.
If you're not getting enough micronutrients from vegetables and salads, it may be wise to supplement with multi-spectrum vitamins and minerals.
Once these nutrient bases are covered, you can look into other nutraceuticals to further support long term brain health.
A few key ingredients we would recommend:
1. Curcumin - This is an anti-inflammatory compound from Turmeric that has also been shown to increase BDNF in the brain.
2. Bacopa Monnieri - A herb that has been shown to support memory, increase brain blood flow, increasing neurotransmitter production.
3. Sharp PS Phosphatidylserine - A key component of cell membranes and myelin sheath surrounding neurons. Aids in supporting neuronal communication and memory as we age.
4. Lion's Mane Mushroom - Contains multiple compounds that provide protection for neurons, as well as boost Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) to help repair and create new neurons.
5. CDP-Choline - A form of dietary choline which converts into both Uridine and Choline in the brain. Choline is the precursor to Acetylcholine - a neurotransmitter that supports muscular control as well as memory and learning in humans.
Luckily, we have put most of these ingredients and more into our daily stack - ENHANCE NOOTROPIC which is our flagship product and premium solution to supporting long term brain health, memory and learning.