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3 ways to look after your brain, and the planet

For World Health Day, we’ve assembled three ways that you can care for you brain and the planet, at the same time.

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March 31, 2022
3 min read

This year, the WHO have given World Health Day the theme—our planet, our health. 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 much use.

So for World Health Day 2022, we’ve put together three ways to look after your brain health, in a way that will also benefit the planet.

Article breakdown

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.

We shouldn’t limit ourselves to World Health Day. We make choices about our impact on the planet every day, from how we work, to how we move, to how we eat. The Smart Supplement comes in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging, and every ingredient is plant-based and sustainably sourced. It’s the right choice for the environment—so you can feel good about feeling better. Learn more.

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