So often when we talk about living a healthy lifestyle, all the focus is on the lower parts of our body, primarily our heart health and getting into better physical shape. Very little is ever mentioned about keeping our brains healthy until we’re talking about the latest statistics about Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
Let’s start thinking about our body as a whole, including our brain. Very often when we adopt healthy habits to lose weight or to fight off Type 2 diabetes, our brains will benefit as well; but in order to make these changes stick, we need to fully understand the results our bad habits have on our brain health.
1. Reduce your stress level. Any kind of stress releases the hormone cortisol, which over time can kill brain cells and cause the brain to physically shrink in size. Cortisol affects the prefrontal cortex, which is the area responsible for memory and learning. To reduce your stress level, start with daily aerobic exercise, meditation, or...
Our brains are the miracle powerhouses of our bodies. This extremely complex organ controls all our bodily functions so, for obvious reasons, we should do everything in our power to keep our brains functioning healthfully.
One simple way to keep your brain healthy is to get enough sleep. In today’s busy world, too often we stay up late to finish work, finish housework, or to finally relax with our spouse. But then the vicious cycle starts again too early in the morning when we awaken to get ready for work, to feed the kids, or to get a jump-start on that work deadline that’s hovering over our head.
Scientific Proof Your Brain Needs More Sleep
Without sleep your brain can’t function properly. Your reflexes are slower, you’ll have difficulty focusing on tasks, and you’ll have difficulty learning new things. Sleep is also extremely important to your brain’s neurons and their ability to communicate with each other.
The National Institute of...
Health experts often bring out the phrase, “Use it or lose it,” when speaking about our body’s muscles. If you don’t use your muscles regularly, they will atrophy and you will lose strength, especially as you age. To combat atrophy and muscle loss, you need to engage in strength training exercises. Did you know the same is true for our brains?
As we age, our cognitive reserves start to fade and we find ourselves searching for lost words or taking longer to perform mental tasks. With the preponderance of news about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, retaining those cognitive reserves becomes even more important than in years past.
Here are some ideas for giving your brain a workout so you can remain sharp as you age:
1. Learn new things. Experts believe that when the brain is passive and unengaged, it will atrophy. The brain wants to learn new things and the best way to keep your brain healthy – just like with your other muscles – is to make...
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen myriad news reports over the years about how to live a healthy lifestyle and why healthy living is so important. Those news reports and articles often mention losing weight as the ultimate goal – probably because of our obesity epidemic and the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes – but we sometimes forget the unseen benefits of exercise on our bodies.
1. Improves your HDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Cholesterol is a natural compound found inside our body’s cell membranes but increased levels will increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Triglycerides are the fats that accumulate in your blood stream when you indulge in an unhealthy eating regimen. Improving both of these levels keeps your blood flowing easily, which reduces your risk of stroke, which is good news for your brain.
2. Improves your heart and lung health. If you get winded walking down your driveway it’s a sign that your lungs...
Did you know that cognitive decline can begin as early as your late 20s and early 30s? A University of Virginia study published in 2009 discovered “top performances in some of the tests were accomplished at the age of 22. A notable decline in certain measures of abstract reasoning, brain speed and in puzzle-solving became apparent at 27.”
Considering figures from the Office for National Statistics, for 2015-17, show in the U.K. women's life expectancy from birth remains 82.9 years and for men it is 79.2, that’s a lot of years to live with decreased brain function. But there’s good news here: We can improve our brain’s function based on our life choices. We can actually control how smart we become!
Nutrition is the very basic foundation of all health, including brain health, so making wise choices in what foods to eat not only helps your body stay healthy and trim but also helps improve your brain function. Do you suffer from brain fog and have a hard...