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The brain

The start of your braincare journey

You’ve taken the first step, but what’s next. These simple tips will help you improve your brain health, for good.

 Dan Murray-Serter
Dan Murray-Serter
Co-Founder
May 05, 2021
7 min read

So you just got your Braincare Score. How does that feel? Any surprises?

We’ll go out on a limb and suggest that, whatever your score, there’s probably some room for improvement. (If there isn’t room for improvement, well, wow. We need to know your secret.)

There are many ways of improving your Braincare Score—some are long-term changes that will take a while to manifest, others are more immediate. We’ve put together a list of simple, actionable steps you can take that will make an impact. There’s a lot here, so start small. Go to the section you scored lowest in, and try to implement one of the three steps.

1. Exercise

Most people associate exercise with physical health, and understandably so. The most obvious benefits affect our fitness, our cardiovascular and muscular systems. But exercise is also essential for our brains, our mental well-being, and our creativity. It also helps you create new brain cells, and encourages the release of neurotransmitters—critical for keeping your brain sharp as you age.

Nowadays, there are many ways to complicate exercise, and many ways to make it prohibitively expensive. But you don’t need a Peloton membership or even a complete set of dumbbells to start exercising. It can be as simple as going for a brisk walk.

Top 3 tips for exercising

  1. Just get moving—any type of exercise is better than none. Short jogs, walking the dog, or doing some press-ups all count.

  2. That said, aim for 150 minutes a week—this is the optimal amount of exercise for a standard person. Less than this, and you won’t get all the benefits, but much more, and you’ll start overdoing it.

  3. Mix it up—try to take part in a variety of different exercises. These might include cardio, weight training, HIIT, yoga and pilates, or team sports. Each has different benefits for the brain, so the broader the variety, the better.

2. Nutrition

What we eat affects our brains and our bodies. Making sure that we’re getting the right food has a huge impact on our mental and physical health, as well as on most other processes in the body, from memory to immunity.

But 99% of us don’t get the full set of vitamins and minerals we need. That’s a problem. It’s why we developed our first product, the Smart Supplement. But on top of that, there are several other easy, actionable things we can do to improve our diets. It’s also worth remembering here that when it comes to nutrition, it’s all about consistency. Turning these into a habit is what will make the difference, rather than short-term changes to what we eat.

Top 3 tips for nutrition

  1. Limit the processed foods—this includes things like tinned vegetables and white bread. Processed and convenience foods are associated with worse health outcomes as they're often higher in salt, saturated fat, and additives in comparison to their homemade alternatives. 

  2. Get a colourful 5-a-day—different colour vegetables contain different nutrients, so it’s vital to get a good variety of colours on your plate. The food will also look prettier, and you’ll be more excited to eat what you’ve made.

  3. Drink enough water—that’s 0.5L for every 15kg of body weight. If you're as little as 1-3% dehydrated, it impacts your focus, memory, and concentration. And, by the time you're aware that you're thirsty, you’re way more than 3% dehydrated. 

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3. Sleep

For something we think of as passive, sleep uses up a lot of energy. As much as 20% of your total expenditure. Time to put some more thought into it.

Sleep is absolutely vital for a healthy brain. During the night, there's an 8-hour cleansing process, which clears the toxins that build up during the day.  Things like amyloid plaques, tangles and tau proteins that are major risk factors for Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. In other words, things you want to get rid of. 

It’s also essential for our mental well-being. Lack of sleep increases stress levels, which can then make it even harder to sleep. It’s a nasty cycle.

Top 3 tips for sleep

  1. Sleep on your side—strangely enough, this makes a big difference (and not only to your snoring). Sleeping on your side facilitates the cleansing process through the night, leading to more restorative sleep.

  2. Keep a consistent schedule—this is key. Don’t try to skimp on sleep during the week, thinking you’ll make up the hours at the weekend. That’s not how your brain works. 

  3. Eat early—digestion increases your heart rate, as you’re using energy to process the food. Leave about two hours between eating and going to bed. And hold off on caffeine after lunch. It has a half-life of 12 hours, so anything later will stay in your system long into the night.

4. Well-being

From chronic pain to acute stress, a lot of symptoms we associate with our physical and mental well-being originate in the brain. So while they might not seem directly related, they fall under braincare, and that means there are things we can do about them. For example, what we eat can have a huge affect on our stress levels. Getting the right vitamins and minerals can actually relieve stress and anxiety.

Once again, the key here is forming a habit. That’s when you’ll really start to see the difference. Small moments throughout the day beat a one-off sprint, every time.

Top 3 tips for well-being

  1. Practice mindfulness—this doesn’t have to be meditation. Being mindful is just being truly present and undistracted. For a mindful moment, simply pick a task, and give it your undivided attention, noticing everything about it.

  2. Try breathwork to reduce stress—Breathing patterns tell our brains whether they should be worried or not. While short, shallow breathing indicates danger, deep and slow breathing tells our brains that we’re safe, and relieves stress.

  3. Learn something new—challenge your brain by trying a new language, or by researching a new topic. This will help increase the neuroplasticity of your brain. If those examples sound a bit daunting, a few puzzles might be a slightly easier starting point.

5. Social and personal stability

Feeling a sense of fulfilment in all areas of your life is key to your sense of social and personal stability. The same goes for feeling a strong sense of personal identity. It also helps to maintain meaningful connections with friends and family. We’re social animals, and depriving that aspect of our lives can have a negative impact.

This part of braincare feels less tangible than things like nutrition or exercise, but it’s no less important.

Top 3 tips for social and personal stability

  1. Keep a journal—it helps you maintain a good relationship with yourself, and by looking back through older entries, you can foster a strong sense of personal identity.

  2. Visit a friend—physical visits have been in short supply recently, but where they’re possible, they are essential for our social stability, 

  3. Be honest with yourself—this one’s hard, there’s no denying it. But becoming confident in telling yourself the truth, rather than what you want to hear, can ultimately do wonders of your sense of self and your self-esteem.

So what comes next?

By getting your Braincare Score, you’ve already taken an important step in taking care of your most important organ, and we hope you now have some good ideas on how to improve your score.

Take the next step in your braincare journey, and try the Smart Supplement.

Here’s why you might like it:

  • Improves sleep and energy levels

  • Boosts mood and helps manage stress

  • Sharpens focus and memory

  • Bolsters immunity and helps avoid cognitive decline

  • Replaces most other multivitamins and supplements you may already be taking

And get 10% off your first order with the code BRAINCARE10. Check out the Smart Supplement now.

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