8 Tips to Improve Health and Wellbeing
- Get plenty of sleep
- Get as much exercise as you can
- Eating a healthy balanced diet
- Keep cholesterol under control
- Get your eyes tested
- Cocoa before bed!
- Maintain an active mind
- Look after your heart
1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue of some degree in this country.
That may well be a dramatic opening line but unlike recent EU referendum tactics, this is not intended to scare you but simply make you aware of the level of recognition that is needed by all of us with regard to health and wellbeing.
The brain is the most complex of our organs. Billions of cells served by trillions of connections. Within mental health, we can loosely attribute 3 main areas of brain function:
- Cognition – the understanding of new information and the ability to solve problems.
- Concentration – involves focus, application and persistence.
- Memory – the recall of information, both short and long term.
All three must be working perfectly for us to function as well rounded and coherent individuals. To be properly effective, the brain must contain nutrients that support all three areas.
Current research figures state that over 900,000 people in this country suffer with dementia whilst that is predicted to rise to over a million by 2025. Of course, there are varying levels of dementia which takes time to develop but a road to Alzheimer’s is a real issue for a large section of our ageing population.
So what can we do to protect and improve brain function? Well, rather a lot actually:
1. Get plenty of sleep
Studies have found that people who sleep less are more likely to have a build up of beta-amyloid ‘plaques’ in their brain. These plaques are very often found in people with mental health problems and brain disease. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night for a well rested body and mind.
2. Get as much exercise as you can
Extensive studies have found the positive effects of exercise on mental health are dramatic. Those who increase blood flow to the brain are 60% less likely to develop mind and memory problems.
3. Eating a healthy balanced diet
Propper nutrition is fundamental to your health and wellbeing because studies show that eating healthy can benefit:
- strong bones and teeth
- healthy heart
- healthy gut
As well as a healthy diet, you may also benefit from taking supplements to reach your recommended daily intake of different vitamins and nutrients. Due to the climate, a lot of people in the UK lack vitamin d from the sun, as well as a lack of omega-3 fatty acids that are found in foods such as walnuts and fish.
4. Keep cholesterol under control
High cholesterol will increase your risk of brain disease and reduced function. Improving diet to consume less bad fatty foods will help improve the cardiovascular system. Increasing omega 3 consumption for fighting effects of beta-amyloid can be hugely beneficial.
5. Get your eyes tested
Studies show that treating poor vision can reduce the chances of brain disease by up to 68%. Eye health plays a crucial role in monitoring diabetes with early diagnosis helping to stem the development of macular degeneration which can lead to blindness.
6. Cocoa before bed!
Chocolate helps increase blood flow to the brain. That doesn’t mean sucking in a few bags of Minstrels after the News at Ten but the cocoa bean in dark chocolate is rich in plant nutrients, flavonoids. These antioxidants encourage the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain. So a nice hot cup of cocoa is not only good for the soul but the mind as well!
7. Maintain an active mind
The risk of mental health and brain disease is reduced by up to 75% for those who regularly exercise their mind with reading and puzzles. Mental stimulation is vital for a healthy mind.
8. Look after your heart
Poor health and wellbeing will increase the chance of heart problems occurring; this can include heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise of any kind, be it gardening, regular walks or swimming – anything to increase your heart rate.