Can’t get up on time? Wishing that alarm clock would never go off? Struggling to meet your body's fitness needs? You may need to think more about your brain health.
We interviewed Vicki Mayo, a brain health and mental health expert. Vicki is a partner in our new initiative 'Echelon 360', where we work with subject-matter experts to provide meaningful content that will enrich the well-being of members and foster a community of health and education. She explains in her interview how critical a healthy lifestyle is and where we see the most impact on brain function and mental health.
She recommended three ways we can start taking better care of our bodies and brains.
1. Brain Health & Diet
Healthy choices ensure healthy brain function! The old term “you are what you eat” rings true when it comes to your brain. Vicki recommends adding foods rich in Omega 3’s and fatty acids. Omega-3 is important for our brains to use and have abundance due to its capabilities. Brain cells with higher levels of Omega-3 are known to be better at communicating with other nerves and cells in the brain. To break that down, Omega-3 assists in healthy brain function and overall cognition and regulation processes.
Other foods recommended by Vicki are leafy greens, salmon, turmeric, and blueberries. All of these foods are high in antioxidant properties. Why do we need antioxidants? Because they help protect our cells against disease, infection, and free radicals. Free radicals are known to be the leading causes of cancers, heart diseases, and many more harmful diseases. These are produced when the body breaks down food, is exposed to radiation, or exposure to smoke. By ingesting foods with antioxidants we lower our overall risks for these effects.
As we know, sleep is when our bodies are fully relaxed, this is when the body repairs and restores itself. Some experts say it all starts with sleep. A good night's rest proves to be the first way to kick off a healthy brain. When we sleep, our body gets to work, restoring energy depleted during the day, and repairing any minor damages such as healing wounds, sickness, or soreness. Even removing toxins as we sleep, our brains are highly active while sleeping.
Quality and quantity of sleep is the first way you can set yourself up for success the following day. It is recommended by the Mayo Clinic to get at least seven hours of sleep each night as an adult.
This should come as no surprise! Exercise is another way to ensure our brains stay engaged mentally and remain physically healthy. When exerting yourself, you release hormones produced by the body. These hormones are called endorphins and dopamine. What do they do? Both of these hormones help reduce pain, relieve stress and improve your sense of self and release a better feeling of well-being.
Having healthy hormone levels plays a big role in your mental health functions. Optimal levels of these hormones can be achieved by adding exercise to your lifestyle. No matter your age or physical fitness abilities, incorporating more fitness efforts into your routine and lifestyle will improve your brain function. You will see results such as better quality of life, cognitive functions, and reduced risks for mental health issues.
Vicki Mayo: Resident Health Expert
Entrepreneur, public servant, child advocate, wife, and mother, Vicki Mayo is on a mission to make a positive social impact and meaningful difference in the lives of her family, employees, and community members. An award-winning and nationally-recognized entrepreneur, Mayo invented and founded TouchPoint Solution, a breakthrough neuroscientific wearable that is clinically proven to provide fast relief from stress.
Mayo has over 15 years of experience in various child welfare roles, including supporting the efforts of the Court Appointed Special Advocate program (CASA); creating a camp for foster siblings; and co-founding the Keys to Success Program focusing on foster youth aging out of the system. Vicki became inspired to become involved in the programs after adopting two abandoned teenage boys at the age of 20 while earning her BA degree in Political Science and Hospitality Administration at Northern Arizona University.
Mayo’s experiences working with youth are what led to the development of the six Dimensions of Health framework which is based on the treatment for Adverse Childhood experiences (ACEs) which can create long-term impacts on adults. Mayo also commits significant time to The Mayo Family Foundation, the foundation she co-founded with her husband Simer Mayo, to focus on food insecurity issues; supporting at-risk children in the US; supporting international refugees, and providing access to robust healthcare across the globe.
Most recently, The Mayo Family Foundation led efforts to rescue 147 young Afghan women from the grips of the Taliban and assist in the students’ relocation and case management as refugees in Arizona.
She is grateful to have been recognized with the following recent accolades:
- KNOW Women Award, 2022
- CTA Executive of the Year, 2021
- Women in IT Awards: Entrepreneur of the Year, 2020
- Enterprising Women of the Year Award, 2020
- Phoenix Business Journal’s Most Admired Leaders
- Project Entrepreneur Winner