You think with your brain, but do you think about your brain? If not, consider spending some time learning about the many critical jobs your brain performs for you — and actions you can take to keep it healthy.
March 12 through 18 is Brain Awareness Week, sponsored by The Dana Foundation to increase awareness of the many benefits of brain research. The annual awareness campaign brings together partners around the world to celebrate the brain through exhibits, library displays, lectures and other events. The Dana Foundation provides grants that support research in clinical neuroscience and neuroimaging.
Safeguarding Your Brain Health
Brain Awareness Week seeks to educate the public about the significant progress into brain research along with prevention, diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The brain controls your motor, emotional and sensory functioning, along with your cognitive health, which regulates thinking, learning and memory. To help protect the health of your brain, consider the following steps.
See your doctor regularly. By getting all recommended screenings and vaccinations, you can improve management of many chronic health problems, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and depression, that may affect your brain health. Talk with your doctor about medications you take and side effects that may impact your memory, brain function and sleep quality.
Limit the use of alcohol, which can cause dangerous side effects when combined with certain medications. In addition, if you smoke, consider quitting.
Stimulate your mind with intellectual engagement, including hobbies and volunteer work. Research has found that you may improve your cognitive abilities by learning new skills, such as taking photos or creating crafts.
Eat a healthy diet. By focusing on nutrition, you can reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, and you may help keep your brain healthy. Be sure your diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats and fish, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. In addition, pay attention to portions to control your weight, and stay hydrated with pure water throughout the day.
Get moving with regular physical activity, including fitness classes, walking, dancing, or engaging in household chores. Regular exercise can give you energy, improve balance, improve your mood, and help delay or prevent chronic health conditions.
Connect with others to keep your brain engaged and active. Whether you’re visiting with friends, spending time with loved ones, or enjoying group social activities, your brain may benefit from increasing your interactions with other people.
For Brain Awareness Week and throughout the year, take steps to keep your brain healthy by eating right, moving more, seeing your doctor regularly, stimulating your mind, and enjoying social settings.