Ways to Improve Brain Health to Promote Effective Learning

KoolMinds Team
The brain is a complex organ that controls all areas of functioning including thought, memory, emotion, touch, motor skills, vision, breathing, temperature, hunger, and every process that regulates our body. It controls every part of us. 

Did you know that your brain has an amazing ability to change at any age? This process is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change as a result of environmental or structural changes and adapt by forming new neural connections over time. This means that anyone can improve brain power. Here are some of the ways that you can improve your brain health to promote effective learning. 


The brain has a very high metabolic requirement and is greatly affected by nutrition. Eating the right mix of healthy foods can improve energy, sharpen focus, optimize brain health, and lift your mood and wellbeing. The best diet would consist of eating complex carbohydrates or whole plant foods, and eliminating animal foods, as well as refined and processed foods. A balanced diet would include:
  • Complex carbohydrates like whole-grain bread, brown rice, rolled oats, quinoa, barley, corn, vegetables, and fruits, etc.
  • Lean proteins like white fish, plain Greek yogurt, beans, peas, lentils, skinned poultry, and eggs.
  • Dark, leafy vegetables like broccoli, spinach, Swiss chard, and kale, which contain vitamins K, B6, and B12 for improved alertness and memory.
  • Healthy fats (those omega 3 fatty acids) from avocados, fatty fish like salmon, nuts (particularly walnuts), seeds, and extra-virgin olive oil.


Certain vitamins play an important role in keeping your brain and heart healthy. The right vitamins can improve cognitive function, protect your brain, help ward off memory loss, improve blood pressure and reduce your risk for stroke and heart disease. Vitamins that boost brain and heart health include:
  • Vitamin B-12. Reduces risk for heart disease, boosts mood, and maintains nerve and blood health.
  • Vitamin D. Helps regulate blood pressure, protect the brain from damage and can also improve cognitive performance.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids. Promotes brain health, improves blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Vitamin B-9. Helps preserve brain health and boosts mood.
  • Vitamin B-1. Helps nerves and brain communicate.


Exercise is critical to brain health, and actually builds the connections between the neurons. Physical activity can improve your cognitive health. It helps you think, learn, and problem-solve. It can improve memory and reduce anxiety or depression. The book, Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain written by Dr. John J. Ratey explores the connection between exercise and the brain, providing strong evidence that aerobic exercise physically remodels the brain for peak performance on all fronts. Specifically, Dr. Ratey writes that exercise improves learning on three levels: "First, it optimizes your mind-set to improve alertness, attention, and motivation; second, it prepares and encourages nerve cells to bind to one another, which is the cellular basis for logging in new information; and third, it spurs the development of new nerve cells from stem cells in the hippocampus." Exercise helps the brain get ready to learn and it makes retaining information easier.

Managing Stress

All stress is not bad- there is good stress and bad stress. Some stress can be beneficial when it is managed properly. Chronic stress can affect brain size and structure, impacting learning and memory. Studies have shown that people who have chronic stress have smaller brains, so it is important to find ways to manage it. It is possible to reduce stress and improve brain health with 20 minutes of relaxation a day. Some common ways to reduce stress include managing your time, talking it out, engaging in sports or exercise, practicing mindfulness and meditating. Stress reduction has the power to enhance not only your memory and brain health, but your mood, relationships, and overall quality of life. 

Restorative Sleep

Restorative sleep is critical to brain health. Studies show that sleep deprivation hinders learning, impairs cognitive performance, and slows reaction time. Restorative sleep includes all four cycles of sleep and serves two functions – to help with filing memories and thoughts into the right places and detoxification. People who sleep well have less inflammatory factors, and people who don’t sleep well actually have shrunken brains, especially the hippocampus or memory center. Here are a few ideas that can help you improve your sleep: create a nighttime routine, avoid certain foods and drinks before bed, lower the temperature, spend more time outside during the day, and stay away from electronics before bed. Research suggests that there are enormous benefits to getting a solid seven to eight hours of sleep per night, beyond just helping you feel more rested and alert. Sleep boosts your ability to learn, concentrate and retain information longer throughout your day. 

Articles/Resources on Improving Brain Health

Videos about Improving Brain Health

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[i] Brain Anatomy and How the Brain Works. (2021, July 14). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/anatomy-of-the-brain
[ii] Elkington, H. (2022, August 30). What is neuroplasticity and how does it work? A psychologist explains. MagnifyMinds. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://magnifymind.com/what-is-neuroplasticity/
[iii]  Optimize your brain health for effective studying. (2022, May 9). Brainscape Academy. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.brainscape.com/academy/brain-health-studying/#1-feed-your-brain-the-best-foods-to-eat-for-optimal-brain-health
[iv] Northwestern Medicine Staff. (2018, November 20). 10 Vitamins and Minerals That Boost Brain and Heart Health (Infographic). Northwestern Medicine. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.nm.org/healthbeat/healthy-tips/nutrition/10-vitamins-and-minerals-that-boost-brain-and-heart-health-infographic
[v] Plan, T. N. (2021, September 5). 10 Ways to Enhance Your Brain - Blog. The NEURO PLAN. Retrieved September 20, 2022, from https://www.theneuroplan.com/blog/10-ways-to-enhance-your-brain/

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