DDespite feeling like the world’s biggest brainiac when you solve your Wordle puzzle of the day in two tries, do you really know how to support your brain health?
The first step is to determine the definition of brain health, and neuroscientist Hayley Nelson, PhD, likes the World Health Organization’s definition better: “Brain health is a state in which each individual can realize their own abilities and optimize their cognitive, emotional, psychological and behavioral functioning to cope with life situations”.
In a nutshell, “taking care of your brain is essential [for your] overall health and wellness,” says Dr. Nelson, because the organ plays an important role in nearly every system in the body, from thoughts and emotions to digestion, hormone regulation, and more.
So how do you support your head? Start by considering Dr. Nelson’s list of amazing things to look for, which she shares below. (And, of course, see her doctor if she has any pressing concerns.)
If you’re still looking for a little extra support, you can try supplementing your diet with ingredients like vitamin B6, B12, and coffee cherry extract, all of which are found in Neuriva Plus capsules. The formula is designed to help support proactive, holistic brain health across six key cognitive milestones: learning, memory, focus, reasoning, accuracy, and concentration*.
But remember: As you explore Dr. Nelson’s pointers and tips, don’t forget that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to the brain. Because it is part of what makes you unique.
Keep scrolling for 5 Surprising Signs of Brain Health with tips on how to support it.
1. You know how to relax
Prioritize sleep is the ever-present line on your list of intentions. Consider this another push. “If you can fall asleep easily, stay asleep through the night, and wake up feeling rested and refreshed, this is a good indicator of overall health and wellness,” says Dr. Nelson.
Beyond fatigue or daytime sluggishness, sleep quality also affects concentration. According to Dr. Nelson, your ability to focus, respond to situations with ease and speed, and stay focused until a task is completed (ahem, all of the areas Neuriva Plus is formulated*) are signs of brain health and can improve significantly with better sleep.
2. You can regulate your emotions
Dr. Nelson notes that “being able to calm yourself down during times of high stress through deep breathing, exercise, or meditation shows your ability to control your nervous system.” Another factor that affects emotional regulation is the ability to apply reasoning skills in high-stress situations.
On the other hand, repetitive thoughts (especially negative ones) prove otherwise, according to Dr. Nelson, and can be precursors to depression or anxiety. “Being able to ‘let things go’ easily, have healthy relationships, and manage stress well are signs of a [brain health]she says. So go ahead and book that yoga class, start a journal, or sign up for therapy—anything that helps you feel (and maintain) that healthy balance.
3. You learn fast and retain what you learn
Have you picked up a guitar lately? Did you try your luck with the mother dough? According to Dr. Nelson, learning new things is vital and it’s never too early or too late to start training your brain.
“Keeping your brain active is just as important as keeping your body active!” says Dr. Nelson. “Having a reliable memory and the ability to learn new things are excellent indicators of [brain health].”
4. You have a healthy gut
Did you know you have a second brain? It’s true, according to Dr. Nelson, and it’s called the enteric nervous system. “[It] processes sensory information in the gut and relays it to the brain, which in turn sends signals to the gut to adjust its function,” says Dr. Nelson.
“When the GI system is irritated, it can send signals to the central nervous system to trigger mood swings,” he continues. “Certain strains of probiotics have been shown to have positive effects on psychological symptoms…and perceived stress in healthy human volunteers.”
5. You have a comfortable, even prosperous, social life!
Extroverts, rejoice. Dr. Nelson points out that people with closer relationships live longer, happier lives and have shown slower cognitive decline as they age.
Socializing requires keen insight, good judgment and strong decision-making skills, all of which are key to cognitive accuracy, according to a 2014 study. Relationships also generally increase healthy behaviors and positive emotions, says Dr. Nelson. “This social support leads to… less stress hormones and thus greater longevity and brain health.” An excuse to plan a trip with a group of friends? Yes, it’s a no-brainer.
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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.