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How to keep your brain healthy: 30 days of scientific brain health tips

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Building a healthy brain involves eating brain-healthy foods and performing brain stimulating activities consistently over time. Though it may take 66 days to build a habit [1], you can start investing in your cognition today. The Global Council on Brain Health (2022) has listed 6 pillars of brain health [1] involving: 

  1. Eating right
  2. Getting restorative sleep
  3. Regular exercise
  4. Managing stress
  5. Exploring stimulating activities
  6. Being socially connected

Below is a 30-day free brain health guide on how to improve brain function that includes all six pillars:

Days

30 days of better brain health

Evidence

Day 1

Want an alertness boost? Try 30g dark chocolate

A pleasurable treat in the alertness toolkit! Flavonoids (nutrients in cocoa) increase brain blood flow by 60% in 2 hrs [20]. Better alertness & reaction times [65]. Benefits galore at 70% cocoa

Day 2

20 mins walk a day keeps Alzheimer's at bay

Maintain sharpness as you age! 2.5 hrs/week brisk walking reduces Alzheimer’s risk by 33% [6]. 3800 steps/day reduced the risk by 25% [23]. An easy habit to create & uphold

Day 3

Increase L-theanine to aid relaxation

Green tea's L-theanine helps the nervous system relax without being sedative. 200mg induces relaxation even after 3 hours[66]. Our 250mg capsules provide 15-20 teacups worth L-theanine. Read more here

Day 4

10-min meditation to top up self-esteem

Mindful meditation improves self-esteem by lowering negative thoughts [39]. It's a tool to help you access positive emotions. Another plus? Get a better focus with less mind wandering [40]. Read more here

Day 5

Improve concentration by increasing choline

Nutrient found in eggs, salmon, and mushrooms. It is used to make acetylcholine, the learning & attention brain chemical. Another way to make it is through supplemental Alpha GPC (41% choline). It works quick- levels increase in 1-3 hours [26]. Boosting acetylcholine  will supercharge your reaction time & long-term memory [27]. Read more here

Day 6

Eat 6-7 pcs of walnuts daily to make new brain cells

Walnuts have over 10 brain-benefiting nutrients+healthy fats. Eating 6-7 pieces (50g) can help you reap multiple benefits. Walnuts help keep the memory area in good shape by maintaining chemical balance. Also, protects brain against inflammation and damage, increases levels of BDNF (protein that makes new brain cells) [17]

Day 7

Sleep for 7-8 hrs for a clean & smart brain

During sleep, your brain reviews information learnt during waking hours & stores it in long term memory [21]. Brain’s cleaning fluid fills your brain during sleep and washes out waste materials [22], which is why you wake up feeling refreshed after a good night’s rest. 

Sleeping 7-8 hours lowers dementia risk by half compared to sleeping less than 5 hours [5].

Day 8

Get more: 5-HTP→serotonin→happiness

Protein building block, tryptophan is found in tofu, cheese, and chicken. It is converted to 5-HTP and then to serotonin to boost mood.

Taking the smallest 100mg nutrient-dense 5-HTP is an efficient way to increase serotonin safely & naturally. More serotonin=more happiness. Read more here

Day 9

Go sober for a calm and balanced brain

Grape juice, especially Concord grape juice, contains high amounts of nutrients (anthocyanins) that nourish your brain with increased blood flow [51]

Alcohol disturbs the balance of brain chemicals, increases cortisol (stress hormone) by 5 times [48][49][50]. Read more here.

Swap alcohol with grape juice- your brain will thank you. 

Day 10

Quick stress resilience? A 5-min cold shower

Cold showers (5 mins, 12°C) equips the body’s stress response to better adapt to other stress [62]. Like a quick training session to make you more resilient. This can also feel rewarding, because swimming in cold water (14°C, 1 hr) increases dopamine (reward and pleasure brain chemical) levels by 250% and decreases stress hormone cortisol [63]. Good feels with low stress, a win-win situation.

Day 11

Blueberry: To protect your brain & its memory

Blueberries’ nutrients (anthocyanins) increase blood flow to the brain, improving activity in memory and decision-making areas. Also fights inflammation to protect brain cells [13][14]. Just 1 cup/day can bring these benefits.

Nourish☑Nurture☑ Protect☑

Day 12

Gain happiness with a portable sun-in-a-box

Get your own sunshine using a light box. Light therapy adjusts sleep/wake cycle during dark days, by imitating sunlight to regulate body clock. It increases serotonin levels (light dependent) [35], to put you in a good mood. Light therapy reduced depressive symptom in 60% of those using it [36] Read more here.

Day 13


Turn up brain defence by >50%: Swap meat for plant-based meals



Plant-based diet decreased cognitive impairment risk by 55% [18] Rich in vitamins B, K, C, E, fibre, and antioxidants (neutralize harmful compounds). B vitamins speed up energy & brain chemicals production. Vitamins C & E neutralize harmful compounds to protect brain cells. Vitamin K helps produce new brain cells and forms their protective layer [19] Read more here

Day 14

Dance your way to 75% lower dementia risk

Regular dancers have 75% lower dementia risk [31]. As you dance, your brain joins in, connecting multiple brain networks, making them stronger. It helps improve attention and muscle memory [32]. Dance for 90 mins, twice a week 

Day 15

Turmeric+black pepper = dial down inflammation

Turmeric’s active ingredient, curcumin,  helps reduce inflammatory processes in the brain cells to defend from damage. Black pepper's piperine boosts its absorption by 2000%[64]. This super combo helps clear up Alzheimer’s harmful compounds [67], providing extra protection

Day 16

Get social for a stronger, connected brain

Socially active people have 70% less cognitive decline [41]. Spending time with loved ones can make you happy and your brain healthy.

Social interaction activates and connects multiple brain networks, including the reward and pleasure area [42], making it a fulfilling experience.

Day 17

Spill away harmful brain chemicals with EVOO

Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)  has oleuropein (Antioxidant-neutralizes harmful compounds) which increases clearance of Alzheimer’s chemicals & prevents their accumulation [10][11]. Swap your regular oil for 30g EVOO- a simple swap to upgrade brain protection.

Day 18

Boost motivation with tyrosine-made dopamine

Dopamine, your reward and pleasure brain chemical keeps you motivated and fearless, helping you take beneficial risks [52][53]. Tyrosine (protein building block) is converted to dopamine in the brain. It is found in tofu, milk, and beef. Supplemental form can increase dopamine in 1 hour- a quick hack to enjoy dopamine’s benefits. Read more here

Day 19

Spend 20 mins in nature to be 20% stress-free

Spending time in nature decreased cortisol (stress hormone) levels by 20% [33]. Nature settings provide a break from high-attention tasks. They restore evolutionary connection to openness and freedom [34], an easy path to zen mode in 20 minutes

Day 20

Low blue light=More restful sleep=Revived you

At night, light causes waking-up effect and affects body clock. Blue light from screens and room lights reduces melatonin (sleep hormone) availability [30]. At night, the body makes melatonin from serotonin. Taking 5-HTP, the direct building block of serotonin can help. More serotonin makes more melatonin so you can get the restful sleep you deserve. Read more here

Day 21

Want to activate your brain in 4 months? Pick up a new language

Learning a language involves multiple brain networks & strengthens them. Stimulates and improves memory, reasoning, speech, and processing in 4 months [28]. A good way to make your brain a heavy-weight champion

Day 22

Go low on sugar to keep your brain bigger

2 months of high sugar intake decreases BDNF, a protein that produces new brain cells and connections. Sugar shrinks memory and learning areas [15][16]. Remember: skipping the sugar keeps the brain bigger. Aim to stay under 30g. Read food labels, go for low sugary drinks, use fruits & spices to sweeten meals. Read more here.

Day 23

Want to improve reaction time? And focus better? Do your push ups

Want to get a stronger brain physically and mentally? Exercise! Resistance training like sit-ups, squats, push-ups & planks, increases reaction time, attention and hand-eye coordination. [43][44][45]. Improving physical fitness increases brain size, promotes strong brain cell growth. Aim for 30 mins, 3 times a week. 

Day 24

Get life goals to increase brain's shelf life

Purpose of life is associated with lower cognitive decline, and better engagement in healthy behaviours [46]. Having a purpose in life increased connections between brain areas of self-awareness and motivation, decreased loneliness, improved stress response [47]. A great investment for a fulfilled brain.

Day 25

Reading for 1 hr/day=6 yrs of brain insurance

Reading just once a week helps to decrease cognitive decline 6 years on [59]. Reading activates different areas of the brain, and constant messages sent across reinforces these areas. It strengthens the part that connects the two sides of the brain, promoting strong connections [60][61], as an all-rounded brain shield

Day 26

Eat plant-based whole foods for 20% less dementia risk

Processed foods are high in sugar, salt, & unhealthy fats, low in fibre and plant nutrients. Processed meat increased Alzheimer’s risk by over 50%. Eating 20% of calories from processed foods decreased cognitive skills by 25% [54][55]. Replacing 10% of calories from processed foods with healthy options decreased Alzheimer’s risk by 20% [56]. A small swap for a big benefit!

Day 27

Relax 20% better by practising 1 hr of yoga

Yoga increases activity and size of memory area and increases connectivity between different brain areas. It provides 2-in-1 benefits where it helps to disengage from stressful responses and improve focus [37]. Practising yoga for an hour, 3 times/week increases GABA (relaxation brain chemical) by 13%-27% [38]

Day 28

Eat oily fish/algal oil for a renewed brain

1 serving of fish/week lowers Alzheimer’s risk by 60%. Talk about big perks from small changes! It Increases volume of brain areas responsible for memory [3][4]. DHA (from fish/algal oil) is the predominant brain fat, promotes structural integrity, increases brain blood flow, helps produce new brain cells, decreases harmful compounds production [8, 9]. Its a full brain makeover.

Day 29

Jigsaw puzzles: A brain gym + stress relief

Jigsaw puzzles employ multiple brain skills like object placement, processing, memory, reasoning. Regular activation of brain skills improves cognition long term. Also, helps cope with stress, in the form of a time out and improves mood [29] Like a brain gym and a spa wrapped in one activity.

Day 30

Volunteer for social & emotional brain health

Regular volunteers had lower levels of inflammation (lesser inflammation=healthier brain) [24]. It boosts social connection and emotional wellbeing [25], making you feel fulfilled. Do it at least once/month.

 

References

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