The human body is full of systems that protect us, permit us to travel, allow us to differentiate between objects and other systems nourish us. The human brain is pure processing power which helps us perceive everything around us and tells us how to react to it, the mind helps us make split second decisions and it creates all the emotions we feel. This magnificent work of art by nature through evolution sits inside in total darkness within a crude bone that protects it. It weighs about 2 kilos and has a grayish-white appearance with a consistency of butter.
Why do we need to protect it
The brain like any other organ is prone to aging, over stimuli, cognitive decline and memory loss. A deeply troubled brain through trauma, genetic or aging can often lead to diseases such Alzheimer’s, Dementia and Parkinson. It is incredibly important for us to keep the brain in really good health even If we are to function in the slightest bit. Yet there are not a lot of people that teach us how to treat our minds correctly.
Who must protect it the most:
When it comes to brain health we are all at different levels and a lot of factors are considered along with studying the brain in order to ascertain its health. Most people that have come face to face with Trauma in the form of mild traumatic injuries through accidents, falls or contact sports, physical abuse, and substance abuse are at the foremost range of having poor mental cognition and an unhealthy brain.
Also, the people that have family history of psychological ailments such as Depression, Parkinson, Dementia, Alzheimer’s and schizophrenia should take utmost care of their brain.
Our input to the brain and the body matters, our lifestyle might be the key deciding factor whether or not we age faster, cultivate diseases within ourselves and whether or not we properly heal from these illnesses.
Allow me to present you with 11 practises that will help you maintain optimal levels of brain health :
1) Get mental stimulation:
Stimulating the mind by having new experiences, puzzles, learning a new skill, going out and having new social experiences may play a vital role in growing new connections and repairing neurons in the brain. The brain is like a reservoir, it gathers information throughout our life and engaging the brain deeply into new activities helps develop new cells. This process is called “brain plasticity” and it helps in slowing down cognitive decline.
2) Exercise regularly:
One of the best ways to create new neural pathways is to get your body moving. We Humans heal through movement and the results of a good cardiovascular system is that the blood reaches our systems thus making the body and brain more adaptive, efficient and Can help us avoid a lot of health related issues such as Hypertension, Diabetes and atrial palpitations.
Our Body and Brain have a tremendous capability of healing itself only if we create an environment around us to preserve itself and flourish. Even moderate exercise for short periods has been shown to improve cognitive performance, including memory, across all age groups.
Most of our body does all its healing while we sleep, from muscles to fibers to the cleansing process that takes place happens as we sleep. Our heart rate drops and our brain is not bombarded constantly with new stimuli. Sleep plays an important role in consolidation of memory and improves cognitive performance on a daily basis. Inadequate sleep is linked to slower thinking, poor memory and risk of dementia. Seven to nine hours a night is best. Talking to your doctor about “sleep hygiene”—that is, habits to help your body settle down at bedtime.
4) Protect your head:
One of the leading causes of homelessness in the world is traumatic injury to the brain. There are about 100 million people each year that get some form of concussion. There are many ways to reduce the chances of sustaining a traumatic brain injury. The biggest risk to cognitive impairment is mild traumatic injury and it can be prevented by protecting your head by wearing a helmet, protective gear, wearing seatbelt and preventing fall of elderly.
5) Mindfulness and reprogramming mind through affirmations:
Mindfulness is a mental state in which you focus on your present situation, maintaining awareness of your surroundings and feelings allowing you to be a humble observer. Here you become passive about everything that is happening within you and around you and not attach yourself to your thoughts.
Mindfulness is a wonderful mental habit that has proven effective at lowering stress and improving concentration and memory. Mindfulness has also been linked with a lower risk of age-related cognitive decline, an increase of the gray matter within the brain and an overall improvement in psychological well-being.
6) Improve your input:
What we consume has a huge deal of effect on our brain and body, From the news to the tv shows, from the beverages to the food we consume. Every input Processed by the brain affects directly the responses in the body. Our brain can’t differentiate between the fear of the event vs the actual event taking place in real time and responds by sending signals of flight, fright or fawn throughout the body. So we should be incredibly mindful on what we feed our brain.
Similarly, what we eat can either heal us or hurt us, we should love food that will love us back. For instance, Research has shown that people who regularly consume lots of added sugar may have poorer memory and lower brain volume than those who limit sugar.
When it comes to an ideal food input we should choose beverages such as Coffee and green tea that have high anti- oxidants and caffeine that support brain by improving mood and concentration and L-theanine in green tea increases the frequency of Alpha waves and is also rich in polyphenols that helps reduce the risk of Parkinson and cognitive diseases. Curcumin in turmeric has anti – inflammatory benefits and promotes growth hormone production in the brain.
It is also essential for humans to include Fatty Fish in our diet such as salmon, trout, tuna and sardines as they are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, a major building block of the brain and are essential for learning, memory and have been known to help people with depression. Eggs are a rich source of several B vitamins, folate and choline, which are important for regulating mood, fighting depression and promoting proper brain function.
Cocoa, dark chocolate and berries are high in antioxidants that may help improve memory performance. Berries are particularly high in antioxidants like flavonoids and anthocyanins. Eating them may be an excellent way to prevent memory loss.
7) Joy in the little things:
It truly is the smallest things that you perform daily that have the biggest impact On our lives and wellbeing. We really have to be mindful about our daily inputs
it's the micro moments of Happiness that make life, I mean holding hands with the person you love and then noticing and feeling her skin and feeling the warmth and the softness of it. To be present in such moments wholeheartedly and sharing a connection with a person or just to be attuned to the nature of things around you is what gives meaning to life. Small moments cherished well such as watching a sunset, playing with a pet and walking that causes dopamine induction in your brain.
8) Minimize stress:
Hormones secreted when you’re under stress such as cortisol have a stronger effect on our brains and body as we age, challenging your ability to recover from emotional upset. Cortisol also upsets our ability to properly make us insulin and hampers our bodies judgment to measure and produce adrenaline.
This can lead to anxiety, weight gain, blood pressure and insulin resistance in our body. When cortisol is highly available within our body it lowers the resilience of our immune system. Thus minimizing stress and simplifying our life is of utmost importance when it comes to brain health.
9) Avoid substance abuse:
When substances such as Alcohol, tobacco, drugs and prescription drugs are taken on a regular basis it has the capability to alter the brain and cause aging to accelerate.
Excessive drinking not only harms your liver but it directly affects your brain chemistry and is a major risk factor for dementia. Alcohol and Drugs such as cocaine, marijuana… etc. exhibits neurotoxic effects on the brain and regular use of it can damage the hippocampus, which plays a major role in memory and recalling stored information in both short term and long term.
Over-medication and use of tobacco can cause inflammation in the brain thus causing cognitive impairments. Kindly take advice from a Medical Professional before over medicating.
10) Build a social circle:
brain function in the hippocampus declines with age. Social ties are recommended to preserve memory in this region of the brain in humans. Moreover, people who are isolated with limited social contact tend to have higher levels of depression, a higher use of medications for treating psychosis and more overall hospitalizations.
Social circles are also about forming closer interpersonal bonds and meeting people with different tastes and by simply indulging in activities together can make our lives more rich in experiences.
11) Maintain a moderate weight:
Maintaining a moderate body weight is essential for well-being and is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind at peak performance. Diabetes, hypertension and blood pressure are few lifestyle diseases that are directly linked to being obese- a risk factor for cognitive decline. Having obesity can actually cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, negatively affecting memory. Having a higher body mass index means you are putting that much more pressure on your brain to function leading to inflammation in the body and brain.
Disclaimer:No content on this article should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.