Second Opinion Magazine
Brain-Health Trends for 2023
By Becky Streeter
Science is always trying to learn more about the brain and what makes it healthier. The brain controls every part of our lives and bodies, thus everything we do or don’t do has an impact on the brain. Below are some of the current trends for brain wellness.
Nutrition: Research from Harvard Medical School shows “that the most important strategy is to follow a healthy dietary pattern that includes a lot of fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Try to get protein from plant sources and fish and choose healthy fats, such as olive oil or canola, rather than saturated fats.” These foods protect both your heart and your blood vessels, as well as being great food for your brain. (Check out the sidebar from Harvard Health: “5 Foods Linked to Better Brainpower.”)
Exercise: Staying active helps keep your brain active. For example, which do you think provides more brain stimulation: watching a movie, or taking a walk? You might be watching the world’s most educational movie, but your body is just sitting there. If you go for a walk, even just a short one, think of how much activity is going on in your brain and body–you are noticing everything around, perhaps stopping to speak with a friend, or listen to the birds sing, and blood is circulating throughout your entire body while your muscles get a workout. Try adding exercise “snacks” to your routine: nuggets of time, it can even be seconds to minutes, where you intentionally move. Feel free to snack as often as you’d like!
Sleep: Getting quality sleep is essential for good health as it gives the brain a chance to recharge and the body the opportunity to heal. Most of us don’t get the amount of sleep our bodies need. Thankfully, there are all sorts of new tech gadgets out there to help us sleep better:
Whoop Wristband - A vibration system that will wake you at the optimal time based on your sleep needs and cycles. It can also monitor and record key vital signs.
Oura Ring - Senses what your body needs in terms of sleep, stress levels and physical activity, and makes recommendations based on stored data.
Eight Sleep Mattress/Pad - The temperature continually adjusts throughout the night on each side of the bed based on each individual’s sleep needs.
Apollo Wristband - Monitors key vitals that sense stress and softly pulses with vibrations to calm the body down, even at night while you sleep.
Or, if you’re old fashioned, just work on going to bed when the sun goes down and waking up when it rises.
Source: Araya-Fischel, Ximena. “From Brain Health To Sleep Syncing: What’s New in Wellness.” Next Avenue. 9 February 2023. www.nextavenue.org/5-wellness-trends-in-2023.
“Foods linked to better brainpower.” Harvard Health Publishing - Harvard Medical School. 6 March 2021. https://www.health.harvard.edu/healthbeat/foods-linked-to-better-brainpower