Brain Health: How To Keep Your Brain Strong And Healthy

 - Sakshi Post

- By Moksh Mehta

"I am a brain, Watson. The rest of me is a mere appendix." - Arthur Conan Doyle


It’s pretty much accepted that brain health and all that goes with it - memory, intelligence, and focus - declines with age. But this is wrong: research shows that there are many ways to improve your brain function.

Whether you forget things or want to prevent any problems, there is something here for everyone to learn.

1. Feed your brain

Like any part of the body, the brain requires many nutrients to help it function at its peak performance. Here are two important ones:


You may have heard about choline if you have kids – you would want high amounts of it in your diet to help build your child's brain, as shown in a paper in Advanced in Pediatrics journal. But, choline is still essential as an adult, and deficiencies in it can cause problems.

The best source of choline is egg yolks. For vegetarians, the best source is mushrooms.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is your brain's best friend. It acts on thousands of genes in your body and is required for hundreds of hormones. Not to mention, according to a paper, vitamin D is anti-inflammatory.​

Vitamin D is only available when our skin is in contact with direct sunlight. However, due to the indoor nature of our lifestyles, it is difficult to get the time to spend an hour in direct sunlight every day. That's why it makes sense to take a vitamin D supplement.

2. Rewire with gratitude

According to a placebo-controlled study from the University of Pennsylvania, gratitude practices can "lastingly increase happiness and decreased depressive symptoms." In other words, the more you practice gratitude, the more your brain defaults to positive thinking instead of negative thinking. That's powerful!

Gratitude, defined as "the appreciation of what is valuable and meaningful to oneself," can be practiced in many different manners.

The most common ones are:

  • Journaling

  • Mindfulness

  • Reflecting with loved ones

3. Move and exercise

Research shows that exercise dramatically increases a protein in the brain called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).​

BDNF is like fertilizer for your brain. It enhances your ability to learn, focus, and even grows new connections in the brain–how cool is that?​

Now, it's your turn to see how you can fit some exercise into your daily routine. Here's yet another reason to get moving!

4. Intermittent fasting

According to a paper published by Johns Hopkins University in the Annual Review of Nutrition, going without food for 12-16 hours can increase BDNF levels.

5. Meditation

Regular meditation can lead to "improved self-regulation of attention," according to a paper in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience (Ref 7). It can improve stress management, focus, and generally help you remain calm. Even five minutes a day can do wonders!

6. Chewing gum

Chewing gum usually has a bad connotation. And that's true; a lot of familiar brands pack chewing gum with sugar, additives, and preservatives–and you definitely don't want that!​

Still, there are benefits to chewing gum. Chewing gum can:

  • "regulate cognitive function, especially in attention." 

  • "maintain cognitive functions in the hippocampus, a region vital for spatial memory and learning." 

  • "preserving and promoting the hippocampus-dependent cognitive function in older people." 

For a brain boost, try chewing gum while you work throughout the day. Remember to get gum that doesn't have additives or artificial sweeteners. If you like to chew something else, go ahead–the benefits will be the same!


You are now equipped with the science-based knowledge, tools, and techniques to help keep your brain strong and resilient.

(The author is a Grade 12 student at the International School of Hyderabad.)

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