3 ways to look after your brain, and the planet
Care for your brain and the planet at the same time, with these three simple habits.
Our physical health, mental health, and brain health are all intrinsically linked to our environment, both on a local and global scale. And if we don’t look after the planet, being in shape isn’t going to be of much use.
So to help you develop an eco-friendly braincare routine, we’ve put together three ways to look after your brain health, in a way that will also benefit the planet.
Walk, don't drive
Walking’s the most environmentally friendly method of transport. That’s not going to be a surprise to anyone. The less energy we use for transport—both as fuel, and in manufacturing—the better it is for the planet, and for us.
Most people associate exercise with cardiovascular health, and rightly so. But it’s also essential for our brains, our mental well-being, and our creativity. Movement and exercise can make our brains more flexible and more resilient—proteins called myokines are formed during exercise, and these can have a big effect on cell signalling in the brain. We spoke to Dr Kelly McGonigall about this impact—listen here.
It’s not always practical to walk. But whenever you can, do. You’ll feel better.
Turn down the thermostat
Almost 20% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions are a result of heating the places we live and work. So unless you’re getting your energy from solely renewable resources (and unless you’re off-grid, you aren’t—whatever the energy companies tell you), turning down the thermostat is one way we can make a tangible difference.
And lowering the temperature can also help us to improve the quality of our sleep. As our circadian rhythm encourages us to sleep during the night, a drop in temperature can increase production of the sleep hormone melatonin. A cooler bedroom also prevents us from dehydrating during the night.
There isn’t one, magic temperature—like most things it varies from person to person—but most doctors would recommend keeping the temperature between 16ºC (61ºF) and 19ºC (66ºF).
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Eat colourful vegetables
Livestock farming has a big impact on the environment. Farm animals account for roughly 14% of all carbon emissions, so eating less meat and reducing demand is one of the simplest ways to reduce your environmental footprint.
Colourful vegetables are also an excellent way to get a variety of nutrients that don’t come from any other foods. Case in point—anthocyanins. These are the pigments responsible for the deep blues and purples in foods such as blueberries, aubergines, and red cabbage. They’re powerful antioxidants, which help to fight free radicals—potential harmful chemicals that can damage your cells in large quantities.
So next time you’re making dinner, put something colourful on the plate. Your brain, and environment, will thank you.
Catastrophic climate change is one of the most important issues facing the world today, and is already having an enormous effect on people’s physical, brain, and mental health.
Environmentally friendly business practices have been a consideration in every single decision we’ve made at Heights, and as a certified B Corp, we’re committed to making progress. Here are seven things we’re doing to support the planet. Find out.