How to Stay Mentally Sharp through Nutrition and Physical Activity

Posted by: BeneFIT Corporate Wellness
Date: May 27, 2014

Your brain is the control center of your body, playing a critical role in nearly everything you do 24 hours a day—whether that means walking, talking, working, feeling, remembering, breathing, sleeping, and much more.

A growing body of research on the positive impact of physical activity and nutrition demonstrates a powerful connection between brain and body. The following describes the connection between “brain and nutrition” and “brain and physical activity.”

Your Brain and Nutrition
The brain, despite comprising only 2 percent of the body’s weight, gobbles up more than 20 percent of our energy intake. This energy comes from the foods we consume, which is why proper nutrition is so essential to brain health.

A brain-healthy diet is one that reduces the risk of heart disease and diabetes, encourages good blood flow to the brain, and is low in fat and cholesterol, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is even more effective when combined with daily physical activity and social interaction.

So, what is the best recipe for a brain-healthy diet?
The answer is a combination of foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, along with antioxidants, which are also highly recommended for a heart-healthy diet.

  • For omega-3 fatty acids, add more fish to your diet—specifically salmon, mackerel, herring, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna. In addition to fish, try adding flaxseed to your cereal and smoothies, or chia seeds to stir fries and salads. The Cleveland Clinic recommends one-to-two tablespoons of either as a healthy daily dose.
  • For antioxidants, add more berries and dark green vegetables, like kale or spinach, to your diet. offers the following rule: Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Another source for antioxidant-rich options includes beans (red, black, pinto or kidney) and nuts (almonds, walnuts, pecans or chestnuts), though they can’t take the place of fruits and vegetables when it comes to daily recommendations.

Your Brain and Physical Activity
People often say that they feel more energetic and less stressed after exercising. It’s akin to giving your brain a boost, with research showing that moderate and regular exercise stimulates various brain chemicals, which leave you feeling happier and more relaxed.

Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better and gain health benefits, but they can also be a fun way to spend time.

How can you boost your activity?

  • Try exercising with family, friends or coworkers. Having a partner aids in motivating and sustaining an ongoing commitment to physical activity.
  • Get back to the great outdoors. Not only is it an amazing venue for many activities, it also provides a mentally stimulating environment.
  • Focus on what you enjoy. If you like the activity you choose to do each day, chances are you will look forward to exercising.

For more information on the connection between brain and body, please contact us.

You may be interested in reading the following articles: Make a Plan to Get Outdoors and 10 Habits to Maintain Good Health.

Disclaimer: The information presented is for your general knowledge and does not replace the advice of a physician. All medical inquiries regarding your health should be presented to a physician.

Unifying & Retaining Employees