The simple, social way to build a better brain


What surprised me about the experts’ advice is that their recommendations for a better brain were almost the same as for creating a healthy body – with one main exception.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised, after all the brain is part of the body. Yet, as the fattest organ of our body, I wonder how the brain achieves such remarkable feats? Even after countless studies there is so much that we do not understand about the brain. However, there is fair evidence about how we can build a better one.

Six ways to build a better brain

  1. Eat well – just like the rest of the body the brain needs good nutrients to function.
  2. Get enough sleep, allowing the brain to restore itself (yes, it produces new cells).
  3. Stay fit – exercise increases communication in vital parts of our brain.
  4. Switch off and relax – sustained stress has a corrosive effect on this organ.
  5. Avoid drugs and smoking (but not necessarily alcohol in moderation).
  6. Get out into nature and soak up some Vitamin D.

Plus one more thing…

The tips above sound like the top ones for creating a healthy body, right? Well, here’s the rub – for a healthy brain, according to the brain experts, we also need social interaction. We need to communicate and engage with other human beings – in person and not just via a screen. This keeps our brains challenged, stimulated and positive all through life.

So the best thing you can do right now for your brain is to stop reading this and find someone to discuss it with.

‘Build a better brain’ was part of the Brisbane Writers Festival 2016. The authors talking about brain health were Dr Nicola Gates, John Elder Robison, Dr Nancy Pachana and David Astle. #bwf16

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