It’s a new year of school, and except for the long shadow of an Indian summer I can feel casting a pall over an otherwise exciting time of year, we know that fall is just around the corner. Listen to our latest podcast and consider these tips for taking even better care of your brain:
Take Care of Your Brain Podcast Link
Or read the full transcript below:
Learning is a lifetime endeavor, whether you are in school or not. In fact, it’s when we stop trying to learn new things that our brain health can begin to decline. Besides old favorites like crossword puzzles and sudoku, this digital age in which we live provides so may APPs and games that help us keep our brain active, whether through play or by learning another language or building a virtual kingdom all our own.
No matter what time of life you are in, the brain needs great nutrition, including lots of antioxidants, to do its best. Drops in blood sugar, agitators like caffeine, even too little water for hydration, can all have negative effects on your brain cells. As neurons fire information back and forth in your skull, remember that healthy brain cells are composed of membranes that the body has created using the fats your diet provides. Good fats make for limber, porous cells that easily trade information and nutrients with surrounding cells. Bad fats stiffen cell (and subsequently vessel) walls, making it more difficult for the brain to work at optimum levels. An imbalance in fats, usually on the side of too many bad, can further cause inflammatory responses that further hinder nutrients and oxygen from passing into and through the cells as they must if you plan to live a long, healthy life.
Yet, no matter what your calendar age may be, any brain can learn to be young again. Here are a few things to consider:
- Get up, get up. Did you know that they are calling sitting the new smoking? We need to move throughout the day. Smart watches like the Apple Watch even have built-in reminders to get up every hour on the hour and move around for at least a few minutes. I also recently discovered that your slow metabolism can be blamed in part on the time spent on the couch instead of moving around. For those who move throughout the day, metabolism works better when those individuals hit the gym for the real workout.
- Eat quality foods. The brain is particularly susceptible to free radical damage. That means it really benefits from a diet rich in antioxidants. Colorful veggies and leafy greens help provide those antioxidants. Bad fats from trans-fats or hydrogenated/partially hydrogenated fats can contribute to clogged arteries, reducing blood flow to the brain. Reduced blood flow not only deprives the brain of nutrients, it also fails to bring all important oxygen to the cells. On the other hand, quality fats can help balance out these bad fats. Did you know that your brain is largely composed of the healthy omega-3 component known as DHA?
- Avoid sugar. Gulp. This one is difficult, but sugar, which is more addictive than the drugs they sell on the streets, can wreak havoc on the whole body, making most of the body’s systems less healthy, especially when it’s left unchecked. When excess sugar hangs out in our vessels, it acts like tiny shards of glass, tearing up our vessel walls and doing harm to our cells. It’s the last thing our brains need, especially if we are striving to keep them healthy. And don’t forget, white foods like rice and pasta, potatoes and white bread, all immediately turn into sugar once you digest them. And juices, even if they are made with real fruit, are basically just the sugary part of the apple or orange. Better to eat an apple. You will only consume one instead of the ten it took to make your glass of apple juice, and the peel of an organic apple has important fiber and other nutrients for your health.
- Of course, I’m always going to mention that we at Betsy’s Health Foods are prepared to help you understand and to find the best supplements for your brain’s particular nutrient needs. This third quarter of 2022, we’re deep diving into brain health, so check out our blog posts and podcasts and emails for more information on several areas of the brain, from memory and mood to eye health and neurological concerns.
Thank you for joining me for this quick look at brain health today. Visit our blog anytime at betsyhealth.com. Download our APP from your App Store. It’s FREE, and it gives you access to everything BetsyHealth, right at your fingertips.
Happy learning students—no matter what age you are!
Betsy’s Health Foods is your family-owned vitamin store, always taking your health and your budget to heart. Proudly serving the Houston area since 1993.
BetsyHealth Note: This podcast and blog post are for educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice. It does not attempt to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider with health concerns or before taking supplements, especially if you take prescription or over the counter medications or have a medical condition.
Photo by A Koolshooter: