The brain is one of the most critical organs in the human body. It processes our thoughts, signals the body to move, and so many other functions we have yet to discover. The brain is also like a muscle. It will become unhealthy and won’t function without proper exercise and nutrition. Neuropsychologist Dr. Kareem Edwards is a medical professional who works on brain health. He is aware of the steps anyone can apply to keep their brain healthy into the later stages of life,

“You need to keep your brain healthy for yourself and your family. People who are 65 and older want to remain independent. They want to know they are providing value to their family. I have seen the pain on family members’ faces when their older relatives can’t remember something,” said Dr. Kareem Edwards, neuropsychologist of Neurohealth Professionals of Florida.

Neuropsychologists are individuals who study brain behavior and cognitive functions. They are the specialists you would see if you have issues with memory retention, concentration, and anything relating to the brain. Dr. Edwards launched his practice, NeuroHealth Professionals of Florida, in Hollywood, FL. Since 2018, he has helped patients battle moderate to severe issues like Dementia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Alzheimer’s Disease. His patients’ small breakthroughs in becoming healthy motivate Dr. Edwards to commit to the work. Through his years of experience, Dr. Edwards knows the simple tips you can use to keep your mind strong.

“The mind-body connection is fascinating to me. There is so much information on the brain, yet there’s not enough information about the brain. The reward I get from my work is seeing my patients’ improvements. I get excited when patients come back to me and say, “Man, this really helps. I can’t believe I am improving,” said Dr. Edwards.

Dr. Edwards breaks down the six essential items to keep your brain healthy—movement, relaxation, nourishment, thinking, sleeping, and connecting. Dr. Edwards explains connecting is on the list because social connection engages the brain. This engagement develops our communication skills and problem-solving skills. This factor is vital for children. The less time spent around boys and girls their age, the weaker their communication skills. This explains why some people in adulthood have awkward communication styles.

“When we engage people through devices, It blocks the development of the brain’s indicator for

 communication nuances. Reading people’s expressions, emotions, body language and

Are considered nuances. When that is cut out, it leads to adults with awkward communication styles,” said Dr. Edwards.   

Exercise is an activity you can apply to keep your mind healthy. According to Dr. Edwards, 30 mins of daily exercise can increase blood flow to the brain and body. Blood flow is crucial because it helps facilitate brain-derived neurotrophic factors. This chemical in the body helps repair brain cells and create new ones. Sports are a solution to tackle exercise and connecting steps. Dr. Edwards elaborates that sports help with movement, problem-solving, and communication. It teaches us how to work with others and how to handle situations when they don’t go our way.

Nutrition also plays a role in brain health. Eating healthy keeps the mind strong. Consuming more vitamin B6, B12, and B9 folate can make a difference. Foods high in those vitamins are papaya, cantaloupe, dark leafy greens, Salmon, poultry, peanuts, tuna, and bananas. Dr. Edwards advises avoiding processed foods, including high trans fats and refined sugar.

Limiting our screen time is another step toward better brain health. Dr. Edwards points out that watching television is when the brain is inactive because it’s just taking in information. Too much tv leads to overstimulation, which develops a short attention span. Social media is also a hazard for overstimulation. The brain needs time to consolidate all the small bursts of information on social media we consume. The best way to combat this is to put reading into your routine. Reading exercises different parts of the brain; It develops your comprehension skills and ability to figure things out.

Sleep is a crucial factor in keeping our brains healthy. Sleep is the time used for your brain to recover. Dr. Edwards explains that dreams during sleep are the mind consolidating and processing information. Constant lack of sleep will lead to slowed cognition and brain functioning. Dr. Edwards believes with these tips and right habits, anyone can build a routine to keep them mentally sharp way into their later stages of life.   

Clayton Gutzmore is a freelance journalist in South Florida. He published stories in several news outlets including The Miami Times, 91.3 WLRN, The Atlanta Voice, BET, and Variety Magazine. Gutzmore graduated...