It’s not only what you eat that matters to your brain — your environment matters, too. The largest organ that we have is our skin. Interestingly, one of the most restorative environments for your brain, according to research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, is the beach. The best atmosphere for psychological restoration when visiting the beach or, as the study called them, “coastal parks,” is a combination of mild temperatures and low tides. There are a number of factors that make the beach an ideal locale for your brain, including:
Sun exposure: This is important for optimizing vitamin D, as low vitamin D levels are linked to a risk of cognitive decline in the elderly. Beyond this, sunlight affects your mood and mental health through a number of mechanisms, including affecting your vitamin D, serotonin, endorphins, nitric oxide levels and mitochondrial energy.
Walking barefoot on the sand: When you put your bare feet on the ground, a process known as earthing or grounding, you absorb large amounts of negative electrons through the soles of your feet. These free electrons act as antioxidants in your body and help to reduce chronic inflammation, the root of many chronic diseases. Grounding also thins your blood, making it less viscous, and your zeta potential quickly rises, which means your red blood cells have more charge on their surface, forcing them apart from each other. This action causes your blood to thin and flow easier. If your zeta potential is high, which grounding can facilitate, you not only decrease your heart disease risk, but also your risk of multi-infarct dementias, where you start losing brain tissue due to microclotting in your brain.
Swimming in the ocean: Ocean water is a unique source of important minerals like magnesium, potassium and iodine, whereas swimming provides physical activity. Physical exercise, in turn, decreases risk of age-related brain shrinkage, and increases cognitive abilities by promoting neurogenesis — your brain’s ability to adapt and grow new brain cells.