Here at Children of Earth Skincare we focus on the skin and the brain, or more specifically, the skin-brain connection. It makes sense to take care of them both when you realise how linked they actually are.
This week, we've teamed up with neuroplasticity-boosting platform Preply and our in-house neuroscience consultant Dr Jennifer Newson PhD (Oxon) to bring you some essential tips for what we can be doing to preserve our cognitive health.
Here are Dr Jen's answers to our questions:
Q: What are the predominant factors affecting our brain health?
A: “The health of the brain is strongly experience-dependent. This means that a significant part of our brain health is determined by the environment in which we live and the life experiences we've had. There are therefore lots of factors which influence a person's brain health - from their diet and ultra-processed food consumption, to how regularly they exercise and how well they sleep.
Q: What is the optimal age to begin working on brain health?
A: “It is never too early - even what happens in utero (in the womb) can affect a person's brain health in later life. Also, childhood is a critical period for brain development, which ultimately influences the health of the brain in the long term.”
Q: What are the lifestyle changes we can make to enhance brain health?
A: “The health of your brain influences everything about how you think, feel and act.”
“Although everyone is different and has their own starting point for further improving their brain health, there are some general factors that are known to be important. These include eating a healthy diet that contains whole foods and avoiding junk/ultra-processed foods and drinks; regularly exercising; getting a good night's sleep; being curious and learning new knowledge and skills; and social engagement and building close relationships with family, friends and community.”
So here it is... a seven-step brain anti-ageing daily routine to follow every day!
Using collective research and expert recommendations, Children of Earth Skincare's Dr Jen and Preply have developed a seven-step daily routine of lifestyle adjustments, aimed at promoting optimal cognitive health.
🧘1. Try meditation
Take 30 minutes a day to meditate and be mindful. Findings from a study published in Behavioural Brain Research show that only 8 weeks of daily meditation can decrease negative mood and anxiety; and improve attention, working memory, and recognition memory in non-experienced meditators.
Here at Children of Earth Skincare, we also recommend meditation with a breathwork focus. To make this work for the skin and the brain, apply our personalised zodiac oil blend to your temples, pulse points or gently massage all over your skin. Then start your session (we recommend Soulloop or Open Studio). With breathing techniques such as box breathing or alternate nostril breathing intertwined into the meditation, you will signal to the body via the olfactory system, linked directly to the brain, to increase your GABA neurotransmitters (calm) and decrease cortisol (lower stress), depending on the formulas you choose. When these techniques are combined with our carefully curated Children of Earth skincare ingredients, it has a more powerful effect than meditation alone.
🍎2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet
As Dr Jen told Preply, food consumption influences brain health. Reducing the number of over-processed foods we are eating and increasing the intake of foods that are high in nutrients such as omega-3 fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamins B, D and E, and choline can help to improve cognitive function.
Our favourite? A daily dose of blueberries, walnuts, Lion's mane mushroom and salmon....
🏃3. Partake in physical activities
Dr Jen advises that regularly exercising is great for cognitive health. Expanding on this, findings from The Journal of Physiology show that implementing six short minutes of high-intensity exercise could extend the lifespan of a healthy brain.
🛌4. Aim to get seven hours of sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is great for brain health, according to Dr. Jen. A study by Nature Ageing claims that seven hours of sleep each night is the optimal amount for good cognitive health.
👭5. Increase your social interactions
Dr Jen recommends that social engagement and building close relationships with family, friends and community is a great lifestyle habit to maintain good brain health. Research published by Harvard Health states that “Socialising can stimulate attention and memory, and help to strengthen neural networks.”
🧩6. Participate in intellectual activities
Dr Jen notes the importance of being curious. Solve a puzzle, read a thought-provoking book, tackle a new hobby or even give video games a go – the choices are endless. These fun activities can boost memory and thinking skills.
🌎7. Learn a new skill such as mastering a new language
Sylvia Johnson, Head of Methodology at Preply and language expert explains the benefits of learning a new skill for good brain health, commenting:
“Learning languages triggers 'neuroplasticity,' where your brain forms fresh connections and stays nimble. This is vital for keeping your mind sharp. Plus, it's like giving your memory a turbo boost – as you master new words and grammar, you're actually enhancing both short-term and long-term memory.”
We can't wait to hear when you try this!
Bought to you in collaboration with Dr Jennifer Newson PhD (Oxon) and Preply.
Picture shot at the beautiful Salon C Stellar. © Children of Earth Skincare, 2023