Four Dimensions of Brain Health

The four dimensions of brain health are the lifestyle factors that may help to improve overall brain health. By focusing on four key areas: diet, physical health, social well-being and mental engagement, you can help to support brain health and function throughout life.


Your brain — and the foods you feed it — plays a critical role in every area of your life, from learning, working and playing to personality, aptitude and memory.

In recent years, studies have explored whether a healthy diet can help preserve cognitive function or reduce the risk for brain diseases. A few key areas of nutrition have recently emerged as particularly promising, including healthy fats like DHA omega-3.

Tips to try:

  • Switch out saturated and trans fats for healthier fats like the ones found in olive oil and fatty fish.
  • Maximize your intake of DHA, which can be found in salmon and trout, along with algal DHA fortified foods like juice, milk, eggs, tortillas, yogurt, and algal DHA supplements.

Physical Health

Exercise significantly improves your health in many ways — from helping to maintain a healthy weight and keeping cholesterol levels in check, to maintaining good blood flow to the body and encouraging growth of new brain cells and connections.

Tips to try:

  • Engage in physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. Walk, play sports, take the stairs instead of the elevator, or do something you enjoy outdoors.
  • Sleep soundly — try to get approximately seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Social Well-Being

Friends and family are central to happiness — and they just might be the key to brain health as well. Research shows that regular social interaction has a significant effect on long-term brain health and function. Getting the emotional and social support you need to help you manage stress and feel happy makes life meaningful and fun, and it stimulates and protects your brain.

Tips to try:

  • Volunteer for a cause that is meaningful to you.
  • Join clubs or attend religious services.

Mental Engagement

The “use it or lose it” idea is especially true about your brain as research indicates keeping your brain active as you age may help to generate new brain cells and make new connections in the brain.

Tips to try:

  • Commit to lifelong learning. Intellectual curiosity, pursuit of education, reading, learning new activities and skills and even playing games are fun and easy ways to exercise your mind.
  • Find a brain-stimulating activity you enjoy such as reading, crosswords, learning a new language — and engage in it regularly.


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