How to keep your mind healthy: Fitness regime for mind decoded
These days, more than physical fitness, people are keeping a check on mental fitness too. You might have come across a word called ‘Neuroplasticity’. Yes, that is the word related to cognitive wellness, which means the ability of the brain to rewire itself. Not only the nutrition, but there are also many factors that contribute to this process – diet, exercise routine and sleep schedule.
Now just be with us till the end of this article and you will have answers to all the questions one by one.
The brain diet
This is a diet that consists of fat and water. In this, one needs to consume a lot of water along with healthy fats like oily fish, nuts, seeds and olive oil, particularly those high in long-chain Omega-3 fatty acids, says podcast host Dr Rupy Aujla (@doctors_kitchen), author of Doctor’s Kitchen 3-2-1 (£16.99).
In fact, as a rule of thumb, the darker the food, the better, according to neuroscientist Dr Tara Swart (@drtaraswart), who has written The source (bestselling book in 2019).
Not only you need to drink simple water from a glass, but also have a lot of water-rich food like cucumber, melon and berries.
When to resort to supplements
To be honest, there is no need to supplement your diet but considering today’s lifestyle, it is true that we miss a lot of nutrition. The consumption of Magnesium is very vital as it enhances memory and the quality of sleep. More than eating, it is best to apply it on the skin because absorption is easy and faster.
The rise of “smart drugs”
Nootropics also called “smart drugs,” are becoming very popular, with an explosion of new products promising everything from enhanced memory to a sharper focus and better concentration. But do they work? Anything that has an action on the brain, including caffeine and herbs and roots like ginkgo Biloba, can be classed a nootropic, but Dr Swart warns there’s “no magic drug”. Dr Aujla agrees, adding the most effective way to protect your brain is via “your plate and lifestyle”.
While Mackintosh suggests focusing on nutrients like zinc and magnesium in the first instance, Equi formulates its supplements with some natural nootropics for their overall “balancing effect.” “Siberian ginseng is an adaptogenic herb that helps to support our adrenal response and balance hormones, so it may help us cope in times of stress. Another one is ashwagandha which is incredibly calming and will support sleep cycles.”
Stress less, move more
“Stress is the worst thing for your brain, cortisol literally kills off brain cells,” Dr Swart says. Start with aerobic exercise to oxygenate the brain, there is also a benefit to making your life easy when needed, this is known as “choice reduction.”
Finally, get some rest. “During sleep, your brain’s glymphatic system (which removes toxins and waste products as a result of normal cellular processes) gets to work to clear debris that can impact the functioning of your nerve cells,” Dr Aujla says. Aim for at least eight hours and try to stick to regular sleep/wake times for an added benefit.