Wellness With Age: Six ways to improve brain health

Have you noticed how as we age we become more concerned with brain health? I wonder if we would be healthier if we had paid more attention to brain functions when we were younger.

As you know, we can always improve so here are six ways to improve our brains. Since there are countless books and articles written on this subject the following is only a brief summary.


Both physical and mental exercise are critical for maximum brain function.

Mental exercises such as puzzles and board games keeps the mind stimulated. These activities also exercise the brain’s memory center.

Physical exercise increases the heart rate pushing more oxygen to the brain. Exercise also helps create new brain patterns, and can stimulate neuron growth. A favorite exercise is Tai Chi as it also improves coordination, reducing the risk of falling.


About 60% of our brains are made of fat cells and these cells need healthy fats. Omega-3 fats build new brain and nerve cells. Olive oil, walnuts, and salmon are excellent choices along with avocados.

Foods rich in anti-oxidants such as berries, citrus fruits and broccoli help protect the brain from free radicals.

Caffeine — in moderation — stimulates brain function. Two good sources are green tea and dark chocolate as both have additional nutrients for brain support.


Our brains comprises only 2% of our body’s mass yet utilizes about 30% of the oxygen inhaled.

Physical activity is the obvious way to get more oxygen into the body. Another way is diaphragmatic breathing. In simple terms, diaphragmatic breathing is breathing deeply from the diaphragm as opposed to breathing with only our lungs.


In 1972 a French scientist, Michel Siffre, isolated himself for six months. During that time he documented how isolation affected his mind. It gradually became harder to think clearly, and he tried to befriend a mouse for companionship. Many other studies confirm how isolation creates cognitive decline.

If you live alone get a pet, even if it is a mouse or a beta fish. Phone family and friends for a good visit or schedule coffee dates. Find local groups to join or a place to volunteer.


We all know how critical sleep is and how difficult it is to function after a night without it. Scientists continue to study how sleep affects our minds, and their discoveries are amazing.

Here are three suggestions, out of many, for getting a good night’s sleep.

Check with your primary care provider to make sure your medications do not cause insomnia.

Turn off all electronic screens, including your TV, an hour or two before retiring. These machines emit a blue light telling our brains it is time to wake.

Create a comfortable sleeping environment where it is dark, quiet, and not too warm.


Research revealed how a 2% loss of water weight can cause enough dehydration to begin mental impairment.

In addition to flushing out toxins water also helps to balance the chemical processes which regulates moods. Water increases blood flow to the brain increasing oxygenation which calms the brain.

While it is popular to carry a water bottle around with us throughout the day an additional way to drink more water is every time you wash your hands take a drink of water.

Incorporating one or two of the above suggestions can improve brain health and function.

Email us at info@wellnesswithage.com and share your thoughts. I respond to every email.

Crystal Linn is a multi-published author and an award-winning poet. When not writing, or teaching workshops, she enjoys reading a good mystery, hiking, and sailing with friends and family. See crystallinn.com.