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Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Young

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Our brains are made up of billions of brain cells known as neurons which are all connected by branch-likeconnections, or synapses which are essential to thought. Research has shown that as we age there is a decreasein the weight and volume of our brains, as well as a widening in the gaps between neurons. There is a certain lossof neurons that occurs as a side effect of the natural ageing process, however other factors such as insufficientmental stimulation, poor diet, lifestyle and a lack of social interaction can also speed up the process. Here are ourtop 5 tips to help you maintain optimal brain health.>> Did you know that our brains have the ability to physically change no matter how old we are! A brainthat is 70 years old is just as capable of learning and changing as a brain that is 30 years old <<

1. ExerciseRegular exercise, particularly cardio workouts such as running, cycling and anything that increases the heart rate,can increase the amount oxygen-rich blood that is pumped to the brain. This can prevent the delay or loss ofcognitive function associated with ageing or neurogenerative diseases. A combination between and healthy dietand exercise has been found to improve common cellular pathways important for neurogenesis, cell survival,synaptic plasticity and vascular function. Not only can exercising protect against ageing and common diseases,but moderate levels of aerobic activity are sufficient to produce significant improvements in cognitive function.Research has found that inactive individuals are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s, compared to those with ahigh level of activity. Basically, what is good for the heart is good for the brain! Feed it Good Stuff

2.High blood pressure, diabetes, obesity and high cholesterol are all conditions that make life tough for the brain.Eating a balanced and nutritious diet aimed at reducing the risk of developing these conditions will also haveindirect health benefits for the brain. Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid can help to lower homocysteine levels, highlevels of which have been linked to an increased risk of dementia as well as heart disease. Whole grains such asbrown rice, all contain high levels of folate and B vitamins.The brain is particularly susceptible to ROS (reactive oxygen species) for a number of reasons but the primaryreason is due to the brains consumption of approximately 20% of the total oxygen in the body even though it onlycomprises approximately 2% of the total body weight. Therefore, antioxidant rich foods are highly important asthey act to neutralise the harmful effects of free radicals. These include brightly coloured fruits and vegetables,wholegrains and tea. There are a number of studies that demonstrate the remarkable anti-ageing properties of Green Tea. The tea is apotent antioxidant and contains Green Tea catechins which have been found to protect nerve cells and actagainst the development of neurodegenerative diseases – particularly Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Thisis believed to be due to the ability of Green Tea to reduce the build up of plaque known as amyloid plaque, whichcan develop in the brain and acts as a risk factor for the development of these conditions. The neuroprotectiveeffects of flavonoids have also been shown in the treatment of age related neurodegenerative diseases.

3. Train Your BrainWhen you exercise a muscle it gets stronger – this same principle can apply to the brain, it must be kept active orit may atrophy and waste away. Learning and new activities can stimulate new connections between nerve cellsand may even help to generate new brain cells and protect again future loss. The process whereby the brainReading, learning a language, taking a course, doing a puzzle and activities that involve a combination of manualdexterity and mental stimulation are all great ways to grow and strengthen these neuronal connections.

4. Stress LessLong-term stress, anxiety and depression have been linked with an increased risk of developing dementia andAlzheimer’s disease. In fact, some research suggests that long-term stress stimulates the growth of the proteinsthat might cause Alzheimer’s, and lead to memory loss. Excess levels of cortisol, a hormone released as a resultof the stress response, has also been associated with a shrinking of the hippocampus which is the part of thebrain that is needed for certain types of memory. Some simple ways to reduce stress can include exercise, whichalso has cognitive benefits mentioned earlier, meditation and deep breathing exercises, drinking plenty of waterand eating a healthy well balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake getting sufficient sleep. Research has also foundthat people with a strong support network of friends and family are less likely to suffer from stress relatedproblems.

5. SleepSleep is essential for our brain to process information, and some studies have shown that by cuttingsleep to less than 7 hours per day, cognitive performance can drop from the top 10% to the bottom10%. The average person needs between 7 and 8 hours of sleep per day with the addition of anafternoon nap. There have been a number of studies recently that have looked into the benefits that anap can have on cognitive function. The results of one study showed that naps between 5-15 minutescan have immediate benefits and last between 1-3 hours, and a nap of 30 minutes or more can result ininitial cognitive impairment due to sleep inertia but can proved enhanced cognitive performance over alonger period of time. So take a tip from the Spanish and schedule a siesta!

By Millie from Power Healing

Top 5 Tips to Keep Your Brain Young is a post from: Group Fitness Training Sydney

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