What is Brain Health and How                  
                                   to Keep Your Brain Healthy?
                                    “The brain is the muscle that can move the world.”
                       – Stephen King
The human brain is a very fascinating part of the body.  It is the centre for all functions and it connects to all organs and systems of the body with the help of nerves.  It commands the nervous system and is the centre for all thoughts,  reasoning, logical understanding, creativity, memory and emotions.  In the whole course of biological evolution, it is the most complex and most evolved organ.  It is very important to maintain a healthy brain to live a long, healthy and productive life.
What is brain health?
Health is more than just the absence of diseases. In the same way, there is a lot more to brain health than just the mere absence of neurological diseases and disorders.  Although currently there isn’t a single universally accepted definition of brain health, major organisations focus on its ability to learn, remember and perform all functions in a coordinated way. Phenotypically, it is visible as the body’s ability to thrive in all sorts of situations.
There are multiple components that makeup brain health.  All of these components are closely integrated to create a good level of cognitive fitness. These include normal well-being, good sleep, specific thinking, complex thinking, regular interactions etc. to name a few. According to the World Health Organization(WHO), brain health is the state of the brain when it can perform well across all domains that include social, emotional, cognitive, sensory, behavioural and motor functions.
The human brain is the chief coordinator of all body functions. However, there are three levels of function where it is the most relevant. These include:
·       Maintaining emotional, cognitive and mental functions
·       Interpreting the signals and messages of the sense organs. This is the whole basis of controlling movement.
·       Maintaining normal behaviour and social cognition.  
Ways to maintain a healthy brain:
With age, the brain becomes susceptible to damage and neurological disorders. These disorders will have a deleterious effect on the brain.  They have the ability to disrupt the major functions of the brain and affect the overall health of an individual.  Thus, it is very important that we take very good care of our brains in the following ways:
Regular exercise :
All of us are well aware of the health benefits of exercise. People who are physically active are at a lower risk of neurological disorders. Exercise significantly increases the flow of blood to the brain. This increases the oxygen and other nutrient supply to it. It also slows down the process of ageing by keeping more neural connections intact for a longer period of time.  It is advisable to exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes every day.
Good Sleep:
Sleep restores the brain and the body from all the fatigue of the day. It is vital for consolidating memory and clearing abnormal protein accumulation, thereby boosting memory and overall brain health.
It is very important to get at least seven to eight hours of continuous and good-quality sleep. One should follow a good sleep routine on a regular basis. This will help them to fall asleep on time without any distractions.
Healthy diet:
A healthy and nutritious diet is the key to good brain health. Our diet should be balanced with enough proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and fibres.  We should include more whole grains, green, leafy vegetables, fish, and a lot of healthy fats and proteins in our diet.  It is best to restrict the intake of red meat and excessive salt. Health experts also advise us to absolutely stay away from all forms of tobacco and alcohol abuse. Excessive alcohol is a major risk factor for dementia. Thus, it is best to limit its intake.   
Good food helps us to maintain our overall health. It helps all the cells of the body to function properly by providing them with the required nutrients. It keeps us away from coronary artery diseases, metabolic disorders like diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s. All of us are very well aware of the fact that a healthy mind resides in a healthy body. A healthy diet helps in maintaining both very well.
Regular mental activity:
Our brain is very similar to our muscles. It needs to exercise regularly to stay in shape.  There are many mental exercises that we can perform regularly to stay in shape. One can perform simple exercises like solving a puzzle, Sudoku, etc.  Learning a new instrument or a language is also a very good method to keep the brain active and functioning.
Social involvement:
Humans are social beings. They need to interact with each other on a regular basis to keep sound mental health. People should keep looking for opportunities to meet their friends, families and loved ones.  Also, they should avoid staying alone as it keeps them away from anxiety, depression and other forms of issues related to mental health.
Healthy blood vessels:
Our heart pumps blood to all the parts of the body. Thus, healthy and functional blood vessels are very important for a good blood supply to the brain. It is advisable to get the blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels checked regularly.  This helps us to keep it in the safe range and maintain it well. A review by Hachinski et al., suggests that stroke and dementia are closely related to each other.  Presence of one can induce the other.  In short, maintaining good health is very important for a healthy brain.
Take appropriate measures to stay away from brain injuries:
It is always a good idea to carry and use all safety gear for the head while going for activities such as cycling, adventure sports, skating, etc. This is very important any head injury be it severe or moderate comes with the risk of a negative effect on mental health.   
It is very important to remember and firmly believe that a decline in brain health is evitable. Our brain has the property of neuroplasticity with the help of which it can restore its connections and grow stronger throughout the life of an individual. Thus, it is very important that at a higher level neurological, psychiatric and social researchers work together to achieve brain health. Each of us at the individual and community level should also work towards spreading awareness about good brain health and the ways to achieve it.  
Hachinski, V., Einhäupl, K., Ganten, D., Alladi, S., Brayne, C., Stephan, B. C. M., Sweeney, M. D., Zlokovic, B., Iturria-Medina, Y., Iadecola, C., Nishimura, N., Schaffer, C. B., Whitehead, S. N., Black, S. E., Østergaard, L., Wardlaw, J., Greenberg, S., Friberg, L., Norrving, B., Rowe, B., … Khachaturian, Z. S. (2019). Preventing dementia by preventing stroke: The Berlin Manifesto. Alzheimer’s & dementia: the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association15(7), 961–984. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jalz.2019.06.001

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