Did you know that Alzheimer’s starts 30 years before any symptoms appear, and that it affects 50% of people over 85? Or that depression is one of the greatest killers of our time?
Our brain is sometimes overlooked because we can’t see it, unlike our skin, hair, and body size, but it is vital to enjoying a healthy life. Our brains are involved in everything that we do: thinking, feeling, interacting, intelligence, character, planning, and decisions.
The bottom line is, when our brain works right, we work right, so it’s crucial that we take care of it to the best of our ability.
Here are 5 things you can do that will start repairing your brain right away:
1. Take probiotics
Scientists are finding out that there is a major relationship between our gut health and our minds. It turns out that if our gut is in a depressed, so is our mind. Doctor’s prescribe serotonin-specific reuptake inhibitor medications (SSRIs) to treat symptoms of depression and memory loss. But did you know that you gut is responsible for making 80-90% of the serotonin available to your body? (i) When your gut bacteria is not healthy, inflammation occurs. And this inhibits the amount of serotonin available to your brain, resulting in depression. Dr. Perlmutter notes in his book “Brain Maker”:
“As a neurologist, for example, I find it intriguing to note that today’s antidepressants purportedly work by increasing the availability of the neurotransmitter serotonin, and yet the precursor for serotonin-tryptophan-is tightly regulated by the gut bacteria. In fact-a particular bacterium, Bifidobacterium infantis, does a great job of making tryptohan available”. (i)
By taking a dose of probiotics everyday, you will see huge results. Take a high grade probiotic in the morning and in the evening. Also, eat at least 2-3 servings of fermented foods everyday.
Exercise will not only release serotonin and make you happier, but it will also help maintain your weight. There have been 24 recent studies proving that as weight goes up, the size and function of your brain goes down, and cognitive scores have also been shown to improve with weight loss.
3. Get 8 hours of sleep
It’s crucial you get enough sleep, as this is when the brain repairs itself. If you deprive yourself of sleep, your brain will degenerate quickly.
4. New Learning
Your muscles aren’t the only things that need a workout! If you don’t use your brain you will lose it. New types of learning can include reading books, taking an online course, doing crossword puzzles – get creative!
5. Drink Green Tea
Green tea is amazing for a plethora of reasons, one being that it helps the brain function. Green tea has caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine, which when paired together help the brain work. L-theanine also has anti-anxiety effects and increases dopamine.
And don’t forget to practice gratitude!
Write five things you are grateful for everyday and you will see an increase in happiness, which will have an overall positive effect on the health of your brain.
For further reading about keeping your brain healthy, I recommend Dr. Daniel Amen’s book “Change Your Brain, Change Your Life”.
Perlmutter, David, and Kristin Loberg. Brain Maker: The Power of Gut Microbes to Heal and Protect Your Brain–for Life. Print.