Lifestyle is a major contributing factor to our health. Our brain health is no exception. Therefore, eating right and exercising regularly contribute to a healthy lifestyle that boost brain health.Here are 6 steps to boost brain health:
Step 1 – Build brain cells
Our brain is 60% fat. Fats are major components of brain cell membrane and myelin sheath that protects the nerve cells. Getting enough of the right kind of fats is key to building brain cells.
Omega-3 is an essential fatty acids that contribute to the formation of brain cell structure. Omega-3 being an essential fatty acids means that our body does not produce them. We have to get them from our diet. Rich source of omega-3 comes from salmon, nuts and seeds, olive oil and flax-seed oil.
Step 2 – Protect the brain
Free radicals produced from oxidative stress attack brain cells, cause inflammation and disrupt the communications with each other, thereby, affecting cognitive functions. Toxins produced from metabolic processes in the brain can cause brain cells death. Beta-amyloid protein found in the brain is known to be the major cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Step 3 – Spark brain communication
Neurotransmitters are chemicals that regulate the communication between brain cells (neurons). Tryptophan and tyrosine are 2 important amino acids that are precursors to the production of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine.
Serotonin relaxes the brain and induce good mood while dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine cause the brain to be alert ready to fight.
Step 4 – Feed the brain
Glucose is the only form of food the brain cells accept for the production of energy. Brain cells rely on regular supply of glucose from the blood to keep it going. Disruption to the supply will affect brain function.
Therefore, it is important to regulate the supply of glucose to brain cells. Complex carbohydrates from whole grains, fruits and vegetables will slow down glucose absorption into the blood and provide a steady supply of fuel for brain functions.
Step 5 – Hydrate the brain
Drinking sufficient water is important in keeping the brain cells active. Dehydration will lead to drop in mental energy and cognitive functions.
Step 6 – Manage blood pressure and cholesterol
Healthy heart function makes for healthy brain. When the heart is healthy, it can pumps blood to the brain and deliver oxygen and nutrients brain cells. High cholesterol leads to arterial plaque that blocks blood flow to the brain. When you have high blood pressure, the heart must work harder to pump and sends blood all over the body.
Step 7 – Exercise
Physical activities help blood circulation, which sends oxygen and nutrients to the brain cell. Regular exercises reduce the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. So, ensure you have at least 30 minutes of physical activities everyday. Walking is the simplest and best form of exercise.
Manage these 7 steps well as you are well on your way to maintaining brain health and functions as well as slowing down the degeneration.
In my next post, I will list down 10 foods that help to boost brain power.
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