Let's Talk about Brain Health
We wouldn’t be here without our brain. This three-pound organ is responsible for our thoughts, emotion, intelligence and so much more. The command center of the nervous system, the brain is a mysterious and complex organ that controls the body’s functions and determines who we are.
Fast facts and stats about the brain:
- The brain is divided into five parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum, the brain stem, the pituitary and the hypothalamus
- There are 100 billion neurons present in the brain
- On average, your brain processes 70,000 thoughts per day
- It’s a myth that you only use 10% of your brain
- Your brain produces enough electricity to power a light bulb
- About 1 in 5 Americans suffer from damage of the nervous system
While there is still so much research to be done, scientists have determined that the brain is always changing, which is known as “brain plasticity.” As we age, our brain is constantly growing to include new information and experiences, but that also can mean a loss of cognitive skills and memory ability. While these changes are inevitable, these essential tips will keep your brain healthy and functioning through the years.
Follow a Mediterranean-style diet
Eating a Mediterranean-style diet comprised of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fish and low-fat dairy is not only good for your heart and waistline, it’s good for your brain. Stock up on strawberries, kale, blueberries and broccoli, all of which are high in antioxidants that your brain needs to prevent oxidation and slow the process of aging.
Studies show that at least thirty minutes of physical activity a day can reduce risks to the brain. Why? Exercise improves blood flow and memory and stimulates chemical changes in the brain that improve well-being. Luckily, you don’t have to spend hours in the gym to reap the benefits. Just by walking your dog, washing the car or playing with your kids, you’ll get more oxygen-rich blood to your brain while spurring new brain cells and increasing connection between other cells.
Use it or lose it
Like the muscles in your body, you have to use your brain or risk losing it. Doing a crossword puzzle, reading a book, learning a new language or painting are all excellent mental exercises that the brain needs to stay healthy. Research shows that these brainy activities stimulate new connections between nerve cells and may even help promote new brain cell growth. It’s never too late to develop a new skill and continue to learn.
Enjoy a glass of red wine
Resveratrol, found in red wine and the skin of red grapes, is a powerful antioxidant. Studies have shown that resveratrol may reduce cell damage associated with aging and may protect against plaque buildup in the brain. Enjoy in moderation - one glass is recommended per day. Not a wine enthusiast? Green tea and coffee are two other popular beverages rich in brain-boosting antioxidants or you could also take a resveratrol supplement such as QOL's Resveratrol-SR to reap the same benefits!*
Get a good night’s rest
The brain is running at full speed during the day, getting us through tough work days, long commutes and time with family. When it’s time to get some shuteye, don’t skimp - all brains need seven to eight hours of rest! There are many side effects to not getting enough sleep, including memory loss, being more accident-prone, low mood, and stress.
There is no health without brain health, which is why it’s so important to maintain healthy practices throughout your life. Take charge of your brain health by staying physically and mentally active, eating right, getting enough sleep and discovering new passions. Your brain will thank you.