Brain health isn’t something we usually think of. At least I didn’t until I saw a lecture by Dr. Daniel Amen showing brain scans of healthy and unhealthy brains. Holy cow! Is that what my brain could look like? Pocked marked like swiss cheese because I partied too much in my 20’s?
Now, of all the things that I worry about aging, the biggest one is losing my mental capacity. I really don’t want to be 80 and not know who my grandchildren are. Did you know Alzheimers starts 30 years before symptoms ever show up?
Throw in another wrench, studies show an inverse correlation between weight gain and brain size. So as you gain weight, you’re brain size decreases. These studies show that this particularly damages the prefrontal cortex which effects the ability to make good decisions, plan and organize.
Feel a little anxious?
The good news is that there are 4 simple ways to help bring back health to your brain.
- Eat and Drink Healthy – Deep down I think most of us already know how to eat and drink healthy. Eat more veggies, clean proteins, healthy fats high in omega 3, drink water, not caffeine or alcohol and ditch processed sugar. This pretty much sums it up. But the real struggle is to make this change. Finding alternatives to these that make you happy and having a friend or partner that will do this with you is even better. Check out my article on clean eating for additional tips. The key to habit change when it comes to diet it to clean out your pantry of the junk foods. If you don’t have them handy then you’ll be less likely to eat them. Next, come up with a meal plan. We are more likely to stick to healthy eating when we don’t have to rush off to find something to eat last minute.
- Movement – I know it sounds so basic right? Eat right and exercise. But the fact of the matter is we need movement in our daily life. What that looks like for you will be different than for me. You might move as a part of your job, dance, walk or play with your kiddos. Others might go to the gym, take a group class, do yoga, rock climb or ride their bike. Whatever you do make sure it’s a regular part of your day and you’ll benefit. Movement increases blood flow and oxygen to your entire body as well as your brain. It helps move toxins out of your body including your brain which is important to brain health.
- Learn Something New – When we learn something new, like a new language or playing a musical instrument, we stimulate new brain cells which will connect to other brain cells.
- Practice Gratitude – When we practice gratitude on a regular basis, we increase positive emotions and our brain works better. When we experience negative emotions, our ability to learn, be creative and imagination all decrease. This is an easy practice to do and it only takes 5 minutes a day. You can use any journal or phone app and jot down three things you’re grateful for each day. Or you can share what you’re grateful for each day during dinner with your family. If you’d like to make it even simpler, check out the 5 Minute Gratitude Journal.
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Interested in seeing what it would look like to work with me to transform your health? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a free discovery call!