A happy, fulfilling life requires a healthy brain, and there are some important habits we can cultivate to keep it functioning optimally for a lifetime:

1. Keep Challenging Yourself

Mental stimulation is vital for continued brain health. If you are a “left-brained” person (logical, linear, analytical), take up a painting class. If you are very right-brained (artsy, unstructured), make yourself balance your checkbook without a calculator. Strive to learn something new and outside your comfort zone each year whether it’s a language, a dance, a computer skill or a cooking style.

2. Eat Brain Food

Favor foods that are known for their brain health benefits; blueberries can help with preserving memory, and spinach and broccoli are loaded with vitamin K, which is known for improving cognitive function. Tomatoes contain lycopene, which protects against the cell damage that can otherwise lead to Alzheimer’s. Omega-3s are extremely beneficial for brain health; get them from oily fish like salmon as well as flaxseed, walnuts or a daily fish oil supplement.

3. Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity improves energy levels, sleep patterns, mood and brain health.

4. Get Plenty of Sleep

Getting enough rest one of the best things you can do for brain health and overall health. Seven solid hours of restful sleep per night is extremely valuable in promoting and preserving brain health as well as focus, mood and energy levels. Sleep is restorative to all of the organs. If you’re short on sleep, a nap in the afternoon can also work wonders.

5. Stay Social

Staying socially active is another key component of ongoing brain health. Cultivate positive relationships and stay connected with people who love you, challenge you and make you laugh.

The brain is one of our most vital organs, and its optimal functioning is key to a happy, fulfilled life. Use these five tips to promote and maintain brain health for a lifetime.

Mind Fuel Daily was founded to help readers find inspiration and purpose in every day. We believe that each person is capable of finding his or her best life here, in the present moment, and our mission is to provide the spark that moves you to positive action and thought.