Are the things that you do every day – oftentimes unknowingly – giving you brain damage? .
Are the things we do in a normal day damaging our precious brain? Have you gotten into some poor habits that could lead to loss of cognitive function as you age?
“The good news about keeping our brains healthy is that each of the brain-aging insults many prime timers face can be delayed, some even reversed.” William Sears, MD: Prime-Time Health
The statistics for new cases of Alzheimer's disease reported each year in the United States are staggering, over 360,000! Our brains undergo changes daily and our mental ability declines by an average of 20 percent between age forty and seventy! The brain like muscle shrinks as we age.
Sounds like a rather grim prognosis doesn't it? The good news is that there are ways to prevent and protect our brains from damage!
I. Skipping breakfast – I get it.. you’re in a hurry – you don’t have time. The trouble with not eating a brainy breakfast is that you are starting your day with a lowered blood sugar level. Low blood sugar means your brain does not have the right supply of nutrients causing degeneration in the brain tissues. Start your day with a brainy breakfast. have a smoothie, have some celery and peanut butter, have a hard boiled egg, something to give your brain some nutrients to run on!
II. Overeating the wrong types of foods can lead to hardening of the arteries, which contributes to a decrease in brain power. We live in a crazy world, where many people just fly by the drive through instead of taking the 5 minutes to pack a lunch. When we make poor food choices, our body suffers.
III. Smoking. all around bad idea! Our brain needs oxygen to survive. Smoking impacts the fine alveolar tissues in the lungs, coating them with junk and not allowing for the proper oxygen exchange. Without oxygen, our brains can not function.
IV. High Sugar Consumption. Too much sugar impacts the absorption of the proteins and good for us nutrients actually causing malnutrition, and interfering with brain development. So that high sugar cereal that your kids love, actually is impacting their development! Learn more about brainy breakfasts in my L.E.A.N. Start classes!
V. Air Pollution. We live where we live, and some of us live in areas that the brown cloud lurks, and every day we are breathing in polluted air. There isn’t much we can do about this, unless we move and that’s not always an option. If you live in a brown cloud air polluted area, be mindful about when you go outside and when you are doing activities that require deep breathing. Our brain needs oxygen… the less oxygen, the less efficient our brain is. Enhance your home environment by purchasing plants that are considered to be air purifiers.
VI. Sleep Deprivation. We need 7-8 solid hours of sleep each and every night. When you do not get sleep, our brain cells die. Sleep allows our brain to rest – although some nights it may seem like your brain did not turn off, because of the dreams you experience, it is still resting and this restful state allows for regeneration, and better brain connections.
VII. Covering your head while you are sleeping increases the concentration of carbon dioxide that you are breathing in and the less oxygen that your brain is getting. Uncover your head, and allow your brain to breathe!
VIII. Working your Brain During Illness. When we are sick, our body functions are not working right. When we try to work through our illness, the effectiveness of our brain activity is diminished. When you’re sick – rest. It will do your brain good.
IX. Lacking in Stimulating thoughts. Thinking, imagining, pondering, questioning builds better brains. This is why children are encouraged to have an imagination, it builds the brain. I like to think of my brain as a muscle. If I don’t exercise my brain through challenging thoughts, and activities, I will lose it.
X. Talking Rarely. There are many physiological processes that occur with talking. Many of which are not understood, however, having stimulating intellectual conversations will help to build your brain, just as using your imagination will. Unfortunately we live in a society of social media that does not require much actual socialization. Talking is an art, that must be practiced. If we continue lol-ing and idk-ing we are going to run into trouble with our loss of brain power. I suggest the next time you go to lunch with a friend – keep the technology away… go old school.. build your brain!
Prime Time Health by William Sears, M.D. and Martha Sears, R.N., p. 61