HEALTH: 10 tips to improve your brain and whole health wellness

Set a goal to improve your wellness by practicing any of these tips daily. Doing so will help form a habit that becomes part of your routine.

  1. Eat a brain and heart-healthy diet!
    Incorporate more whole foods while limiting ultra-processed foods and alcohol in your diet.
  2. Exercise regularly!
    Any exercise is better than no exercise at all. Research shows that even walking can have beneficial impacts on cognitive function. Start with 5 min of daily brisk walking and work your way up to 30 min daily.
  3. Get proper sleep!
    Studies show that too little (<4 hours of sleep) or too much( >10 hours of sleep) can be linked with cognitive decline. Practice good sleep hygiene (e.g., limit screen time and large meals/alcohol before bed, following a regular bedtime routine, etc) to improve the quality of sleep.
  4. Be social!
    Look for opportunities to connect with friends, family and others particularly if living alone. Social isolation and loneliness have been associated with a negative impact on cognition. It’s important to stay socially connected.
  5. Protect your heart!
    What’s good for the heart is good for the brain. Monitor cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes.
  6. Check your hearing!
    Hearing loss is associated with cognitive decline and dementia. Have your hearing tested. There are free hearing tests available in many places.
  7. Brush your teeth and floss!
    Incredible as it may seem, poor oral health and tooth loss increase one’s risk of developing cognitive decline and dementia.
  8. Live a life of purpose and meaning!
    Research shows a life with purpose helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Find things that are meaningful to you and think of things that bring you joy. Examples include volunteering, trying new hobbies, and learning new skills.
  9. Practice meditation and stress-reducing techniques!
    Prior findings show a positive relationship with mindfulness interventions like meditation and cognitive health. If you’ve never meditated before, find apps on the Internet and start with 5 minutes of daily practice to get into the routine of quieting the mind to promote wellness in your life.
  10. Quit smoking entirely!
    Does anyone still smoke? More evidence shows that quitting smoking is beneficial for respiratory and cardiovascular reasons and also for preserving brain health.