Boost Your Brain Power

Boost Your Brain Power

Have you ever wished for a more reliable memory, improved creativity, or greater reasoning ability? Most of us have, and it’s certain we’d all like to avoid cognitive decline. 

Though many accept cognitive deficits as part of the aging process, we all know people who have stayed “sharp as a tack” well into their 80s and 90s. While heredity plays some part in this, there are numerous factors that can have an even stronger impact on brain health—including many within our control. And making changes that may seem insignificant can add up to a big difference in brain function. Let’s look at several of them. 

1. SLEEP. It’s during sleep that brain cells are repaired, toxic waste is cleared away, and neuronal networks are restored to optimal performance, yet more than one-third of American adults are chronically sleep-deprived.1  As a result, many suffer cognitive deficits, like difficulty focusing and memory lapses. 

2. EXERCISE. It’s not everyone’s favorite topic. But the fact is, exercise doesn’t have to be excruciating or intense to have a positive impact on brain health. A brisk 30-minute walk several times a week can make marked improvements in cognitive function. In one study of stroke survivors, a single moderateintensity walk increased the brainderived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotransmitter regulator critical to proper brain function. 2

3. CHALLENGE YOUR BRAIN. Reading and solving puzzles can produce some benefit, but for the best payoff, learn something new. The concentration and effort required in mastering an unfamiliar activity— learning to play a musical instrument, for instance—tends to increase neuroplasticity, or brain adaptability, which enhances cognitive powers. 3

4. EAT A PLANT-BASED DIET. Berries, nuts, and leafy greens are some of the foods particularly beneficial in slowing cognitive decline. 4

5. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER. Most Americans are chronically dehydrated, and even a two percent loss of water can lead to a significant deterioration in reasoning ability. Keeping yourself well-watered allows the brain to receive more blood, which delivers the nourishment and oxygen that brain cells need in order to thrive. 

6. AVOID HARMFUL SUBSTANCES. Alcohol and tobacco are obvious culprits, but most people are unaware that excessive refined sugar can be a powerful neurotoxin as well.5 

7. KEEP SOCIAL CONNECTIONS ACTIVE. While isolation and loneliness can lead to decreased brain function, regularly joining in activities with friends and family can improve memory and cognition.6 

8. MAINTAIN A STRONG DEVOTIONAL LIFE. The Bible engages the mind at the highest level. Scripture describes itself as “living and powerful” (Hebrews 4:12). Its rich layers of wisdom, its narratives and promises, and its offer of salvation involve complex thought and demand interactive responses that can expand the mind like nothing else.

Naturally, our brain is essential to relating to others and, most important, it’s how we connect with God. With His help, we can make simple changes today to boost our brain health and increase the probability of living healthier and more abundant lives in the future.

1 https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2016/p0215-enough-sleep.html 

2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29078742/ 

3 https://accelerate.uofuhealth.utah.edu/resilience/neuroplasticity-how-to-use-your-brain-s-malleability-to-improve-your-well-being 

4 https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/foods-linked-to-better-brainpower

5  https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/neuronarrative/201204/what-eating-too-much-sugar-does-your-brain 

6 https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-the-benefits-of-being-socially-connected/

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