Brainy ideas for summer fun

summerfunAh, those lazy, hazy days of summer. It seems like a good time for the entire family to just chill. 

As tempting as that may sound, however, maintaining good brain health is a year-round activity. Here are a few fun and easy ways to help keep everyone’s brain healthy this summer. 

Get physical. Head outside with the kids for some hiking or biking – aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping. And that helps keep the brain fed with a healthy supply of blood and oxygen. It can even spur production of new brain cells, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Just make sure all bike riders wear a helmet – it helps protect the brain. 
 
Sleep is also important. “Make sure to maintain a good sleep schedule during the summer months,” says Alec Glass, MD, a movement disorders and sleep medicine physician. “As hard as it is to want to go to bed during a beautiful Alaska summer, your brain needs seven-to-nine hours of sleep to maintain proper functioning over the long run.” 
 
Be a brainiac. Read a book while lounging at the beach. Break out word games for family game night. Forcing yourself to think can add new brain cells and solidify their connections. 

Serve some food for thought. Summer is the perfect time to eat fresh foods high in brain-friendly antioxidants.
​Look for: 
    ✓Dark-colored vegetables, like kale, spinach, broccoli and beets; 
    ✓Berries – blue, black and red; and 
    ✓Cherries and plums. 

Also, when firing up the grill, throw on some salmon, trout, mackerel or other fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for the brain. 

And finally, don’t forget that all time favorite summer food – corn on the cob. It’s a brain pleaser too. Just avoid lots of butter.