Though there are many things that can help strengthen the mind’s cognitive functions, the best ones are those that are easy to practice and are preferably enjoyable as well. When we give the mind what it needs to perform optimally, we will naturally slow down the aging process. Plus, as we begin to experience the benefits of a clearer mind, more focus and deeper concentration, we are more likely to stick to these new habits. Here is a list of five natural ways to strengthen the mind that also happen to be easy and enjoyable.
Study after study has proven that sleep is crucial for a strong and healthy brain. The brain repair process happens while we sleep and not getting enough sleep, can even lead to the death of brain cells.
As we get older, melatonin levels decrease, so it can become harder to fall asleep. It’s best to avoid caffeine in the afternoon, as well as minimize alcohol intake in the evening.
Natural supplements like valerian root has been proven to treat insomnia while reducing anxiety levels as it interacts with GABA levels. Low levels of GABA, are linked to chronic stress, insomnia, and anxiety and valerenic acid inhibits GABA breakdown which in turn helps us relax and fall asleep.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate improves memory and reduces stress. Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and other beneficial compounds, it lowers blood pressure, promotes heart health, and keeps the brain healthy.
Research shows, that dark chocolate, might, in fact, change the frequency of your brain. Dark chocolate with a minimum of 70% of cocoa enhances the gamma frequency of the brain which is linked to the highest cognitive processes, such as, recall, memory, information processing, and stress reduction.
3. Move that Body
Exercising only 15-30 minutes per day has been shown to improve mental health. Regular exercise increases neuron development and growth and decreases the risk of dementia. It has been proven beneficial for people of all ages, from children to seniors, to improve and keep cognitive functions. Plus, they can be simple exercises, such as walking, working in the garden, cleaning the house, riding a bike (even a stationary one counts) or anything that is not sitting.
4. Learn Something New
Sometimes we have to challenge our brain by doing the opposite of what it is used to. Though uncomfortable at first, when we do the opposite, we active the other hemisphere of our brain and create new neural connections.
Here are few things we can do to stimulate our brains in a new way:
– Using our non-dominate hand to write
– Take a different route to work
– Learn the basics of a new language (just a few words daily should suffice)
– Listen to classical music
– Try a new recipe
5. Drink Matcha Green Tea
Besides being full of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, matcha green tea also has L-theanine, a protein that improves cognitive function while relaxing the nervous system. Though matcha has caffeine, the L-theanine balances out any potential for the jitters and gives an “alert calmness.” Studies have also shown that matcha can prevent degenerative diseases.
Besides incorporating these foods and habits into our daily routine, we can also take natural supplements that support brain health. Regardless of what you do, consistency is key. As we need our brains to function every day, it needs special care and attention every day in order to perform.
Erika Long loves corgis, curry and comedy. Always searching for the next great snuggle, flavor or laugh, she inspires people to live their best life now. When not writing, Erika can be found at her local brewery dominating Harry Potter trivia night.