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Enhancing Brain Health: 5 Daily Habits Recommended by a Neurosurgeon

In today’s fast-paced world, maintaining cognitive vitality is more important than ever. Renowned neurosurgeon and CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Sanjay Gupta, shares his invaluable insights on how to optimize brain function and keep your mind sharp in his latest book, “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age.” Drawing upon scientific evidence and his own expertise, Gupta highlights five pillars of brain health that can be seamlessly integrated into your daily routine. Discover these effective strategies and unlock your brain’s potential for a healthier, sharper, and more vibrant life.

  1. Move: Physical Exercise for a Sharper Mind Gupta emphasizes the profound connection between physical fitness and brain health. Engaging in both aerobic and nonaerobic exercises not only benefits the body but also has a clear and powerful impact on cognitive function. If you already exercise regularly, Gupta suggests exploring new activities to challenge your brain further. Experiment with swimming or cycling if jogging is your go-to routine. For beginners, start with short bursts of exercise, gradually working up to at least 20 minutes, three times a week. Small adjustments like taking the stairs or parking farther away can also contribute to an active lifestyle.
  2. Discover: Unlocking the Power of Learning The act of learning stimulates the brain and strengthens its neural connections. Gupta underscores the importance of continuous intellectual growth to maintain cognitive agility. To embrace this pillar, venture beyond your professional interests and explore new areas of knowledge. Reading books outside your usual domain, joining adult education courses, taking up a creative pursuit like painting or cooking, or even learning a new language can invigorate your mind and expand its capabilities.
  3. Relax: Rest and Rejuvenate Your Brain Amidst our hectic lives, it’s crucial to give our brains the rest they deserve. Gupta highlights the detrimental effects of inadequate sleep and chronic stress on memory and cognitive function. Prioritize quality sleep by aiming for a minimum of seven hours each night. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine, maintaining a gap between dinner and sleep, avoiding caffeine in the afternoon, and cultivating consistent sleep habits. Create a peaceful sleep environment by keeping the bedroom quiet, dark, and free from electronics.
  4. Nourish: Feed Your Brain for Optimal Performance Gupta emphasizes the role of nutrition in protecting and enhancing brain health. By adopting the SHARP method, you can make mindful choices to fuel your brain effectively:
  • Slash the sugar intake to mitigate the adverse effects of excessive sugar consumption.
  • Hydrate smartly to maintain optimal brain function.
  • Add more omega-3 fatty acids from natural sources to promote brain health.
  • Reduce portion sizes to avoid overeating and support overall well-being.
  • Plan meals ahead to make nutritious choices easily accessible. Additionally, Gupta recommends paying attention to your body’s hydration needs, as dehydration can adversely affect energy levels and cognitive function. Remember to drink water when you feel hungry, as it is often mistaken for thirst.
  1. Connect: Nurturing Relationships for Brain Resilience Strong social connections not only contribute to our overall happiness but also enhance brain plasticity and cognitive abilities. Gupta emphasizes the significance of nurturing relationships to maintain brain health. Reconnect with old friends or make an effort to spend quality time with loved ones. Engage with people of different ages, consider volunteer work, or pass down your wisdom by writing heartfelt letters to younger family members. In some cases, adopting a pet or seeking professional help can alleviate feelings of isolation and promote overall well-being.


Sanjay Gupta’s five pillars of brain health offer a comprehensive guide to cultivating cognitive vitality at any age. By incorporating movement, learning, relaxation, nutrition, and social connection into our daily lives, we can unlock our brain’s remarkable plasticity and reshape it for improved function. Remember, just as we build our muscles through consistent exercise, our brain thrives on experiences and habits. Start implementing these simple yet powerful tips, and within a mere twelve weeks, witness the transformative impact on your brain health. Embrace the potential within you, and embark on a journey to a sharper, more vibrant mind.


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