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Brain Health: What It Is and How to Improve It

Brain health is how well the brain works across thinking, feeling, sensing, doing, and moving areas, letting a person do their best over their life, no matter if they have problems or not¹. Brain health is important because it affects everything we do every day, like thinking, learning, remembering, feeling, controlling, and talking. A healthy brain also makes us happier and helps make the world better.

But brain health can be hurt by many things, like genes, environment, food, hormones, drugs, diseases, and aging. Some of the big brain problems that affect brain health are:

  • Cerebrovascular diseases: These are problems that affect the blood tubes and blood flow to the brain, like stroke, transient ischemic attack, and vascular dementia. They can hurt the brain, make thinking worse, and make the body weak².
  • Traumatic brain injury: This is a hurt to the brain caused by something outside, like a fall, a car crash, or a violent attack. It can hurt the brain, make thinking worse, and change emotions and behavior³.
  • Brain tumours: These are not normal growths of cells in the brain, which can be good or bad. They can hurt the brain, make thinking worse, and cause brain signs, like headaches, seizures, and vision problems⁴.
  • Meningitis: This is a swelling of the covers that protect the brain and spinal cord, usually caused by an infection. It can hurt the brain, make thinking worse, and cause brain signs, like fever, headache, and stiff neck.
  • Communication and sensory disorders: These are problems that affect the ability to talk and see the world, like aphasia, dyslexia, autism, and hearing loss. They can make thinking worse, make people lonely, and make people sad.

To keep and make brain health better, it is good to have a balanced life that includes:

  • Eating a healthy diet: A healthy diet should have foods that are rich in omega-3 fats, antioxidants, vitamin E, and choline, which are good for the brain, like fatty fish, berries, nuts, eggs, and dark chocolate.
  • Exercising often: Moving the body can make more blood go to the brain, make more brain cells and links, and make thinking and mood better.
  • Getting enough sleep: Sleep is needed for the brain to keep memory, remove waste, and get energy. Not enough sleep can make thinking, mood, and defense worse.
  • Managing stress: Stress can have bad effects on the brain, like making the hippocampus smaller, making memory and learning worse, and making the chance of depression and anxiety higher. Stress management ways, like meditation, yoga, and breathing exercises, can help lower stress and make brain health better.
  • Challenging the brain: The brain needs to be excited and tested with new and different things, like learning a new skill, playing a music instrument, or solving puzzles. This can help make thinking, imagination, and neuroplasticity better.

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