Brain Health Tips

Having close relatives who were effected by brain health problems such as Alzheimer's disease and stroke has created a strong awareness for me in the importance of protecting this precious organ. Of all the organs in the body that may one day be able to be transplanted or re-grown in a laboratory, the brain is one that may never be replaceable. Not only does it control and monitor all of the other body organs, it also captures all of our memories and allows us to have dreams. When the brain does not work properly we do not work properly.

Everyone should keep the importance of brain health on their mind. Years of neglect and hardship can cause brain disease later in life. Just like keeping in shape to make a body last, the same goal should be set for everyone concerning their brain health. In order to keep the brain healthy there are some things everyone can do on a regular basis.

1: It is important to continue to stimulate the brain even into old age. Theoretically, scientists believe that the brain maintains flexibility over time if new connections in the brain continue to be created. Engaging in new activities that you may have never tried before can help to keep the brain active. Activities like the arts, playing a musical instrument, sculpting, writing, reading, and solving puzzles are all great things to try.

These new activities can be fun as well. As I have helped to raise my children I have always tried to find new experiences for them to help them develop. What I have also found during this time is I have enjoyed many of the things I originally took the kids to experience myself. Activities like sculpting, making things, and creating music were never things I did when I was a child, but I have found them very stimulating as an adult. Everyone with kids, grandkids, nieces, or nephews can have new experiences while helping to develop the children at the same time.

2. Eat right and exercise to minimize the risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart health is important to a properly functioning brain. The heart is designed to deliver oxygen to the body's organs, therefore, if the heart is not in good health the amount of oxygen available to the brain can be limited. Research has shown that the risk of Alzheimer's disease and stroke are greatly increased for those with cardiovascular disease.

Reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by adding daily exercise and a healthy diet. Choose healthy foods like nuts, omega 3 fatty foods, whole grains, green vegetables, berries, dark chocolate, and green tea. Exercise at least 20 minutes 4-5 times per week. Avoid fatty foods, foods loaded with saturated fat and trans fat, and other foods high in cholesterol.

3. High amounts of insulin and uncontrolled high blood sugar can damage the brain. Scientists have found that people with type 2 diabetes are at a much higher risk of getting Alzheimer's disease and other brain related problems. To help to minimize the risk of type 2 diabetes replace pre-packaged foods with refined sugars and white flour with whole natural foods and natural sugars. Strictly avoid foods containing high fructose corn syrup. This includes many types of soda, candy, and most brands of pancake syrup. There are many alternatives for these types of sugars.

4. Each person should constantly manage stress. Chronic stress is estimated to quadruple the risk of Alzheimer's disease. Keep stress in check by engaging in stress management or activities that promote isolation from daily thoughts and concerns. Prayer and meditation offer a great way to relieve daily stress. There are also relaxation exercise methods such as tai chi, kung-fu, Pilates, and yoga. Another great way to gain some stress relief is by getting a massage, facial, or spa treatment.

5. Become a well rested person. The brain needs sleep to recharge and filter out all the things that can be forgotten during an average day. When you are relaxed you can sleep well. If you have stress or medical problems like sleep apnea or bladder issues your sleep will be effected resulting in a lack of restful sleep. Seek medical attention for anything effecting your sleep and manage your stress before bed in order to recharge your brain at night.