10 Habits to Help Keep Our Brains Healthy
Are you experiencing loss of memory, forgetting a name, losing concentration in meetings? According to David Perlmutter, M.D., FACN, a board-certified neurologist and a leader in the field of complementary medicine, this is not a natural part of aging. He believes this is actually warning signs of a distressed brain.
In reading Dr. Perlmutter’s book, The Better Brain Book, I was very interested in his chapter “How Common Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drugs Can Be Hazardous to Your Brain.” As you know from reading this blog, I advocate prescription-free living and this is just one more reason why. Dr. Perlmutter stated that commonly used drugs—from stomach acid suppressors to antidepressants, to birth control pills, to cholesterol-lowering medicines, to pain relievers–can deplete your brain of life-saving nutrients that protect against free radical damage and can contain ingredients that can promote inflammation.
In his chapter, Get the Toxins Out! I was relieved that I had made the decision 18 years ago to use only non-toxic cleaning products in my home. That was just one of many suggestions he made in reference to how our bodies are challenged with new toxins everyday, and we need to find ways to avoid them whenever possible.
Another suggestion he makes is because DHA is not produced by the body and must be obtained through food or supplements, he highly recommends making sure to feed our brains with either one, for example eating fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, or taking fish oil supplements. Apparently about 25% of the total human brain fat is composed of DHA, especially the cell membrane, which is vitally dependent on adequate amounts of DHA for optimal brain performance. Fortunately my husband and I were introduced many years ago to this product which has a full spectrum of ultra-pure, pharmaceutical-grade omega-3 fatty acids including EPA and DHA and have been taking it every day, particularly since we eat wild salmon so rarely.
Did you know that recent research of the human brain has revealed that our brains can actually change , and be improved, at any time in our age cycle? Just by developing certain habits, we can make a difference in how healthy our brains our and actually improve its efficiency. The following list includes just a few of the habits which can help enrich our brain ~
- Reading each day, particularly when what you are reading is teaching you new information.
- We are all caught up in the digital age and rarely put a pen to paper. Writing is actually good exercise for the brain. Try writing your own short stories which can include your own life story.
- We are all familiar with learning a new language ~ Challenging your brain with new words opens up new pathways ~ even if just a few new words or phrases.
- Did you know that when you watch tv your brain is actually on autopilot? That is why it is so relaxing! Rather than turning it off completely, try choosing educational programming which will stimulate your brain while you are learning new information.
- Learning to play a musical instrument can be very beneficial for the brain. This is a habit that takes time which is beneficial for brain health.
- Exercise, even just 20 minutes a day, can make a difference for your brain. We have actually joined a gym and participate every day in water aerobics.
- We have to mention a healthy diet ~ a low glycemic one with lots of nutrients is very beneficial. The addition of DHA and EPA is also an important food for the brain, either in diet or supplement form. Drink water as much as you can.
- Be sure and get enough rest each night. A sleep-deprived brain does not help one focus.
- Through research with mice and humans, scientists have found that brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help the brain generate new cells, developing neurological “plasticity” and building up a functional reserve that provides a hedge against future cell loss. Try learning chess, play board games with family and friends, fill out those crossword puzzles.
- Did you know that strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy?
We all want to keep our brains young. These are just a few habits to incorporate into your daily life. In addition to those 10 habits, I have a great free report called 7 Ways to Improve Memory. Go here to check it out. Enjoy!