Wondr Health instructor and obesity and lifestyle medicine physician, Dr. Richa Mittal shares 7 strategies for you and your population to keep your brain sharp.
Did you know – no matter what your age – you can improve your focus, sharpness, and memory with simple lifestyle habits? No matter how young or old you are, if you want to boost or protect your brain power, these proven practices are the best place to start.
1. GET THE BLOOD FLOWING
Would you like to enhance memory and thinking skills, improve brain volume, and reduce risk of dementia? Regular physical activity can do all of this! As I tell my patients, you could start off with even a daily 10-minute walk. To enjoy feeling more alert and capable of high performance, keep your movement routine going and growing over time.
2. CHOOSE BRAIN FOOD
Certain types of foods nourish the brain and act to support your brain cells and the functioning of your mind. The MIND eating plan has been shown to not only improve brain function but also reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. It focuses on the following delicious foods that you can add to your grocery list:
- Whole foods that are rich in antioxidants and fiber, especially green leafy veggies, berries, beans, and whole grains
- Healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and seeds
- Lean proteins, especially fish, turkey, and chicken
3. SLEEP WELL
When my patients complain about brain fog or a lack of focus, sleep is often a big part of the solution. A good 7-8 hours of sleep gives your brain time to solidify memories and clear out unhealthy protein deposits. That’s one reason the Wondr program provides lots of strategies and resources to help you get a full night’s sleep. Some of my go-to tips include:
- set reminders to keep a consistent bedtime and wake time
- make your bedroom as dark as possible
- avoid caffeine after 2 p.m.
4. KEEP LEARNING
Mental stimulation helps you stay sharp by challenging your brain to think in different ways. Look for fun activities that help you to learn new things and break old patterns. Get curious! You might play games like chess, solve crossword puzzles, or learn a new sport, language, or musical instrument.
5. DO A DAILY RESET
Your mind needs some time to refresh every day. I call this a “mind reset” and it’s surprisingly effective at improving concentration, attention, and memory. A great way to start? Close your eyes and take 10 slow, deep breaths. Yoga, meditation, and quiet time in nature are also excellent ways to reset your mind.
6. STAY CONNECTED
Feeling connected to your favorite people helps prevent depression and reduce stress, both of which are linked to dementia. You can stay engaged with others by:
- putting the people you care about on your schedule
- considering a short walk, quick call, or even running errands together
- trying out a group or activity that interests you.
7. TAKE CONTROL OF RISK FACTORS
You probably know that keeping your blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, and blood sugar in check protects your heart and other organs. But did you know it also protects your brain? A simple way to start managing those brain health risk factors is through annual wellness checks with your primary care provider.
Practicing these Wondr skills will naturally give your brain a boost by protecting your existing brain cells and helping your brain grow for life!
The Wondr program has plenty of resources to boost brain health. Learn how Wondr can impact your population and your bottom line today—get started today.
About the author: Dr, Richa Mittal is a practicing internal medicine physician who provides weight management and preventive health care. Dr. Mittal uses an integrative approach to treat the whole person, combining evidence-based medical care with customized nutrition, lifestyle, and culinary coaching. She’s a diplomate of the Boards of Obesity and Lifestyle Medicine, and also a founding member and current Vice President of the Dallas Obesity Society, where she supports education of health care providers on the evidence-based treatment of obesity.