Saturday, March 28, 2015

Brain Health

Can we improve the way our brain works? There is new evidence that we can. With the almost epidemic of Alzheimer’s and Dementia in our elderly it makes sense to do everything we can to keep our brains healthy. How much more sense does it make to do these things to help our brains heal if they have already been injured?

Exercise comes in many forms. When it comes to the brain there are many benefits to multiple forms of exercise.

Stretching our brains by expanding our knowledge has been shown to reduce or postpone dementia in most of its forms.  One of the keys to this expansion of knowledge is to truly want to use the information you are learning. Memorizing a shopping list does more good than memorizing a random list of words. Learning a new hobby or a new language does even more.

Our brains can become dehydrated just like our body. When the brain is dry thinking becomes harder, and slower.

Physical exercise is just as important as mental exercise. Exercising while listening to music seems to do the most good. You don’t have to spend hours at it, but you do need to get your heart beating a little faster each and every day. Depending on your fitness level this can mean as little as standing for thirty minutes a day. If you can’t manage even that then start with the amount of time you can stand before your knees feel weak and your heart is pounding.

Certain foods are important in boosting your brain power. The antioxidants found in green tea are a good example. Healthy fats are another example. The healthy fats are the ones your body uses to build and maintain brain and nerve cells. Healthy fats include coconut oil, avocados, walnuts, and Omega 3 fatty acids that can be found in fish (look for mercury free) flax, hemp oil, and organic free range meats and dairy. Many people think only of Vitamin E when they think of healthy oil, but all Omega 3 fatty acids work in similar ways.

The spice turmeric is an anti-inflammatory that crossed the blood/brain barrier.  Celery contains luteolin, which has also been shown to reduce brain inflammation. Broccoli and cauliflower are known for their choline, which supports brain development. Eggs and meats (organic grass fed) are very high in choline.  Blueberries are a well-known antioxidant.

On the flip side there are foods we want to avoid for healthy brains. Grains and sugars top that list. 

Both cause inflammation.

Fasting can also trigger brain rejuvenation.  An easy way of doing this is simply skipping one or more meals per day. This has been shown to increase the neurotransmitters in the brain.

Anything that lowers the immune system lowers the brain system. This includes antibiotics, anti-psychotics drugs, and anti-inflammatory medications (not supplements).

Controlling stress is another key to brain health. EFT (emotional freedom technique) is a very handy tool in relieving stress. With its help you can take the pain out of past events, rendering them unable to trigger an emotional reaction in the present.


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