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Improve your Brain Health

Why the Health of your Brain is Important

Did you know that  an estimated 747,000 Canadians were living with cognitive impairment, including dementia and Alzheimer’s  in 2011? That’s 14.9 per cent of Canadians 65 and older!  By 2031, if nothing changes in Canada, this figure is expected to rise to 1.4 million.

Scientific studies have shown that the lifestyle choices we make everyday such as: diet, exercise, and sleep impact our Healthy Brainbrain function as we age. Poor decisions in these areas can have a negative impact on the health of our brains, and put us at risk for dementia and even Alzheimer’s disease. It is very important that we exercise both our bodies and our brains to keep healthy and fit as we age.

Your Brain, Your Body’s Computer

The brain is a complicated thing. To put it simply, it is like a big computer. It controls everything we do, overseeing bodily function and allowing for consciousness. It is what allows us to think, learn, and feel. It processes the information we encounter and allows us to touch, see, smell, hear and taste. Moreover, it controls our basic autonomic body actions, like breathing, digestion, heartbeat. It also uses our nerves to tell the body what to do, for instance moving our muscles, or getting our hearts to beat faster.

What your Brain Needs to Stay Healthy

Like the other organs in our body, the brain relies on a steady supply of blood to provide it with essential nutrients and oxygen, so that it can remain healthy and functioning. Recent advances in medical diagnostic equipment have shown that when our brain is involved in cognitive effort, blood flow is increased in the parts of the brain involved in the effort. This has lead researchers to believe that an active and challenged brain may have many more brain cells, making them more resistant to deterioration. Therefore, in order to keep your brain healthy you must not only exercise your body, but your brain too!

It’s important to state that brain fitness and mental effort, can’t prevent dementia or Alzhemier’s but it can modify and reduce its effects, especially if you eat a nutrient rich diet and exercise regularly. The following are things you can do in order to keep your brain fit:

  •  Challenge your mind. I mean really challenge it. Crosswords and sodukus aren’t enough. Pick up a new instrument or try learning a new language. These types of challenges are hard, but they are what will help your brain keep sharp in the future.
  • Exercise. Exercise is good for every organ in your body. Research has demonstrated that exercising for 15-20 minutes everyday is essential to brain health later on in life, so get moving!
  • Eat a Nutrient Rich Diet. If you’ve read any of my other organ based blogs, you know how important a healthy diet is to organ function! Research shows that a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and olive oil, and low in processed foods, is best for brain and body.
  • Chill Out. Some stress is ok–it challenges our brains. But too much stress is bad news! It distracts us—wrecking havoc on our memories and causing our brain and body to overwork. Try to include yoga, meditation, or some kind of other de-stressing activity into your day-to-day life.
  • Catch some Zs. You should be sleeping 7-9 hours per night and trying to get into bed before midnight! A lack of sleep will result in you dipping into your cognitive reserves. This is bad because as you age, and your brain becomes stressed or diseased, you have less cognitive reserves to dip into. Having trouble sleeping? Address it now so that you don’t experience cognitive decline in the future.
  • Be Social. Research has demonstrated a link between social interaction and brain function, however they haven’t exactly figured out how much socializing is needed yet. The next time your boss catches you chatting with a coworker, you have a good excuse: you’re keeping your brain fit.

4 Superfoods That Will Help You Maintain a Healthy Brain

  • Blueberries. Research has proven that blueberries help protect the brain from oxidative stress and may reduce the effects of age-related conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Wild salmon. Deep-water fish, such as salmon, are rich in omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are essential for brain function. Not keen on fish? Try an Omega-3 supplement. We recommend this one, which you can purchase at the clinic.
  • Nuts and seeds. Nuts and seeds are good sources of vitamin E. High levels of vitamin E correspond with less cognitive decline as you get older.
  • Avocados. Avocadors are high in fat but it’s a monounsaturated fat, which contributes to healthy blood flow. And healthy blood flow means a healthy brain!

The Es-Teck Full Body Analysis and your Brain

Interested in finding out if your neurotransmitters are functioning as they should? Santé Chiropractic and Wellness Centre offers the Es-Teck Full Body Analysis. The ES- Teck System is advanced technology and is a Health Canada registered Class III Medical Device. Using a finger “Oximeter” it allows for observation of heart rate, tissue oxygen uptake, arterial stiffness, hemodynamic indicators and autonomic nervous system (ANS) levels of activity. It is able to detect whether your brain is functioning optimally. Book your very own Es-Teck Full Body Analysis by calling the clinic at (613) 837-2883.

Thank you for reading! If you found the information in this blog useful, please pass it along to your family and friends! You never know…it could save their life! Oh, and be sure to leave any questions, comments, or feedback below! We’d love to hear from you.

 

References

A new way of looking at the impact of dementia in Canada. Alzheimer Society, 2012
http://www.healthcentral.com/alzheimers/mental-workouts-271437-5.html
http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2013/07/14/six-tips-for-keeping-your-brain-fit/2WfnvXPWvH6lKetxV3iC1N/story.html