As you engage in your favorite hobbies and activities, you likely realize that some can actually help to nurture and stimulate your brain. From painting to solitaire, you can take part in an array of activities that contribute to a healthy mind. However, despite the fact that 44% of Americans deliberately try to improve their brain health through activities and mindful consumption of food, a huge majority (84%) have never discussed their brain health with a healthcare provider.
If you fall into that majority, you can start now to make healthy choices so that you can maintain a strong and robust mindset for years to come. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Solitaire Bliss conducted a survey of Americans to determine where brain health habits are flourishing the most.
In our survey, we asked Americans behavior-focused questions about their brain health relating to the activities they engage in regularly, the average time spent on these activities and the foods or supplements they consume. We then scored each state out of 100 total possible points. So read on to discover the popular brain-health habits in your state!
Colorado, South Carolina, and Louisiana rank as the most brain-healthy states.
Texans have some of the fewest brain-healthy habits.
Reading, walking, and cooking are the most common brain health habits.
About 2 in 5 Americans dedicate three to six hours per week to activities that really challenge their brain.
According to our data, Colorado, South Carolina, and Louisiana are the top three brain-healthy states in the U.S. These states have shown evidence of notable commitment to promoting brain health through various activities and lifestyle habits.
We used the following 4 categories to determine a score out of 100 for each state:
Average number of activities (40 points)
Average time spent on challenging activities (30 points)
Foods (20 points)
Supplements (10 points)
Colorado, which scores a perfect 40 out of 40 in the “number of activities” category offers a wide range of outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. South Carolina, on the other hand, is serious about their supplements. This is The Palmetto State’s highest scoring category.
Louisiana, known for its rich cultural heritage and lively music scene, earns 27 points out of 30 in our “average time spent on challenging activities” category. Perhaps the state’s unique environment fosters creative expression and provides opportunities for challenging mental activities.
Interestingly, three out of the top five brain-healthy states are located in the south. This might suggest that a more leisurely pace of life could be beneficial for brain health, as it provides ample time and energy to engage in activities that promote mental well-being. However, we must consider that Texas, the largest state in the southern region, ranks low in brain health scores. This demonstrates that a slower pace of life alone may not necessarily lead to better brain health.
Meanwhile, California, a state known for its health-conscious lifestyle, also ranks lower than expected. This could be due to the busy lives led by Californians, which might leave them with less time to devote to brain-healthy habits.
To score each state based on the activities they partake in, we researched actions that are associated with healthy brain function and used them to survey Americans and therefore rank the states. These activities, like journaling and working out, help our brains because they promote learning, concentration, critical thinking, and more. In fact, 73% of Americans have noticed a positive impact on their mental well-being as a result of engaging in these brain-boosting habits.
Of all the brain-healthy activities we researched, reading (73%) and walking (66%) were found to be the two most popular activities. Interestingly, these simple habits beat out more complex activities like chess or checkers (7%) and knitting, embroidery, or cross-stitch (11%).
To satisfy our curiosity on which states engage in the most brain-boosting activities, we looked at the average number of these activities that each state participates in. Colorado, South Carolina, and Maine rank highest, with a score of 40 out of 40, 37 out of 40, and 36 out of 40, respectively.
Because a notable 37% of Americans spend between three to six hours per week engaging in really challenging brain-healthy activities, we also identified the states that spend the most time on really challenging brain work.
We defined “challenging brain work” by first asking the question, “On average, how many hours per week do you engage in activities that really challenge your brain?” We wanted to focus on not just a simple walk or yoga session, but activities that feel mentally “tough” and make you think critically and concentrate.
We then took the answers, converted them to minutes for more accuracy, and figured that the states with the highest number of minutes spend the most time on challenging brain work. Virginia comes out on top with a score of 30 out of 30, followed by Wisconsin with 28 out of 30, and Louisiana with 27 out of 30.
Our research has found that nuts, seeds, and leafy greens are the most popular brain-healthy foods in America, with 59% of respondents reporting that they consume these items regularly. These foods are rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy fats, which are essential for optimal cognitive function. Additionally 43% of people take Vitamin D supplements, which play a crucial role in brain health by supporting memory, mood regulation, and overall cognitive function.
Looking at state-by-state rankings, Louisiana, New Jersey, and Colorado are the top three states for consuming brain-healthy food, with scores of 20 out of 20, 18 out of 20, and 16 out of 20, respectively. In the supplements category, Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina rank highest with scores of 10 out of 10, 9 out of 10 and 9 out of 10, respectively. These insights suggest that these states have a particular focus on consuming brain-boosting foods and supplements.
Just as the game of Solitaire requires strategic thinking and focus, maintaining a healthy brain involves a careful balance of activities and consumption choices that support our cognitive function. Solitaire Bliss not only offers a fun and engaging pastime, but also serves as a reminder of the importance of nurturing our mental well-being. By engaging in mentally stimulating activities like Solitaire, we can all contribute to a healthier United States.
We established a series of survey questions that focused on brain-healthy behaviors. We then dispersed the activities into four categories: average number of activities (40 points), average time spent on challenging activities (30 points), foods (20 points), and supplements (10 points). We scored each state on these categories to determine a score out of 100. From there, we analyzed the numbers by state and ranked them accordingly. States that were left out of our ranking due to insufficient data: Rhode Island, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Delaware, Vermont, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Alaska, and Wyoming.
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