Eat blueberries, adopt a Mediterranean diet. Things to do this week for your health and wellness.

Blueberries with snacks
What's so great about blueberries? Here's what to know. (Getty Creative)

Hello, health and wellness enthusiasts. My name is Kaitlin and I’m here to help you get your week started right. To kick things off, read your horoscope and check your local forecast (we hope it's cooling down after a heat wave hit most of the country). Then keep reading for some easy tips and hacks that may improve your life.

😴 Get more sleep

We’d all be grateful for a little more snooze time, but actually getting it can make you feel more gratitude overall. According to a new study from Baylor University, participants who got more shut-eye also had increased feelings of gratitude, resilience and well-being. Eager to feel higher levels of bliss? Focus on improving your sleep hygiene — and full permission from me to splurge on that pricey sleep mask.

🥑 Upgrade your diet

There are few things in this world that I love more than a brownie, but unfortunately, baked goods might not be the best food for your mental health. (Even if, yes, it feels very comforting in the moment.) A study published in Nutritional Neuroscience found that eating a diet high in sugar and saturated fats can lead to changes in the brain associated with rumination — a symptom of depression and anxiety that includes focusing on negative thoughts and feelings. The study also found that participants who ate a mostly Mediterranean diet (lots of veggies, fish and healthy fats like olive oil) didn’t have these brain changes — so while cake is great, if you can fall equally in love with salmon and asparagus, your mental health may thank you.

🫐 Eat blueberries

Fruit is good for you — but apparently, there’s one fruit that’s the berry best. Dietitian Samantha Cassetty looked at the research for the "Today" show and declared that antioxidant-rich blueberries are the healthiest fruit. Eating them can reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes, as well as heart disease — and fortunately, they’re also pretty delicious. Sprinkle some in your oatmeal or blend them into a smoothie.

📅 Use your period week to up your game

Look, I get it: The last thing you want to do while you’re on your period is push yourself. New research, however, suggests that doing so may not be the worst idea in the world. (Sorry!) A new study published in Neuropsychologia found that people who were menstruating did better on tests that measure reaction time, attention, mental agility and spatial skills during their periods — even though they thought they would do worse.

🧠 Adopt healthy habits to prevent Alzheimer’s

Everyone from Chris Hemsworth to Lauren Miller Rogen is talking about Alzheimer’s prevention these days — but you don’t have to be a celebrity to help ward off this cognitive disease. Dr. Dean Ornish, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, asked 49 people with mild cognitive impairment or early Alzheimer’s dementia to participate in an intensive program of diet, exercise, stress reduction and social interaction to see how it would affect their symptoms. While the study is small, Ornish and his team of scientists saw some encouraging results. Here’s what they believe can improve brain functioning:

  • A plant-based diet

  • 30 minutes of exercise a day (and yes, walking counts!)

  • Strength training three times a week

  • Manage stress through meditation, yoga and other relaxation exercises

  • Find some mental and emotional support (Ornish’s participants went to a support group three times a week)

  • Take supplements that may improve cognition, such as omega-3s, a multivitamin, lion’s mane mushrooms and probiotics (as always, consult with your doctor first)