Ways to Help Maintain Your Brain

We all hear about ways to maintain our bodies, right? But it’s just as important to do right by our brains.

Last Friday we had the pleasure of exhibiting at the “Live Well, San Diego” event held throughout various locations in the county. Program Directors Marge Galante, R.N., B.S.N., D.O.N, and Bernice Molina, M.S.W., answered questions at our booth in Mission Valley while Director of Programs & Services Dawn DeStefani, B.S.W., closed out the event in Chula Vista with a rousing talk on brain fitness.

We wanted to share Dawn’s tips because, regardless of age, we all want to stay as mentally sharp as we can, right?

Eat a Mediterranean Diet. No, this isn’t a fad diet but a lifestyle employed by people who eat a lot of fresh vegetables and flavor foods with herbs rather than fat-laden sauces. They also eat a lot of nuts, olives and fish. Lean-cut meats are a good source of protein too.

Drink at least 8 glasses of water daily. They don’t have to be Big Gulp-sized glasses, but staying well hydrated is very important to maintaining all organs, including the brain.

Laugh daily. It can be hard to see the humor in a bad day, but maintaining a positive outlook and finding joy in daily living is important and becomes even more so as we age and have way more to worry about.

Learn something new. We tap a different part of our brain when we take on a new task, such as a hobby that challenges the brain or a new language. We’ve written before about how bilingualism can stave off dementia for an average of four years, but if you’re already bilingual, go for a third language.

Use all of your senses. How often do we really notice how something smells, sounds, tastes and feels – all in the same experience? Instead, we tend to move swiftly on to the next task or place. So don’t just stop and smell the roses, have a good look and feel the softeness of the petals and notice the details in the plant and what surrounds it.

Pay attention to detail. Noticing the little things has become a casualty of modern life. We’re always in a hurry and our hyphenated lifestyles make it harder to focus fully. But when you truly concentrate on what someone says or what you read and hear, such as on television, you are using your brain to its fullest. You’re also likely to enjoy life on a different level.