Do we really overlook our brain? The answer is, YES. We can’t see it, so many overlook it. The problem is that society is going the wrong way with unhealthy lifestyles (junk food and lack of exercise to name a few). There is no time to wait to get healthy!
According to Dr. Daniel Amen, one of the greatest psychiatrists in the USA, Alzheimer’s is expected to triple in 25 years and there is no cure on the horizon. Moreover, Alzheimer’s starts in the brain 30 years before any symptoms become apparent. The best prevention is to decrease illnesses that increase risk, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes, depression and sleep apnea. Furthermore, depression is one of the greatest killers of our time; it affects 50 million Americans at some point! And it is a risk factor for: Alzheimer’s, heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes. Obesity is also a serious national crisis (2/3 overweight, 1/3 obese)and it is a risk factor for over 30 medical illnesses. So the message is clear, if you suffer from one of these illnesses, get help as soon as possible and start with your diet.
The answer is to see all these three illnesses (Alzheimer’s, depression and obesity) as interrelated: they are different expressions of unhealthy lifestyles.
As our weight goes up our brain size decreases! So bad health decisions damage our pre-frontal cortex. And it is never too late to be healthy, start as soon as possible! More importantly, our brain doesn’t have to deteriorate; our behavior accelerates or decelerates the damage.
Based on Dr. Amen’s methodology, we can take care of our brain by looking at 4 different aspects that impact our brain:
1. Biology: genes (the important thing is the expression of those genes and we can impact that with our lifestyle behavior),diet (the brain is 2% body weight, but absorbs 25% calories, also it is 60-70% fat, so we need to feed it properly!), exercise (decreases the risk of Alzheimer’s), sleep (7 or 8 hours/night), hormones, general health, brain injuries, allergies, toxins.
2. Psychology: how you think (it affects the environment of our cells), body image, upbringing, developmental events, past emotional traumas (get them fixed as early as possible). Don’t believe every single thought you have, confront them, and talk back to them!
3. Spirit: What does your life mean? Do you have a purpose in your life? Why are you here?
4. Connections: we are a relational species; it is especially true for women. People are contagious. The fastest way to get healthy is to find the healthiest people and spend time with them! People who like people, people who spend time with people, are not only happier, but also healthier.
What Accelerates Brain Aging: brain injuries, drugs & alcohol, obesity, sleep apnea, smoking, excessive caffeine, diabetes, hypertension, toxins, poor diet/high calories, stress, depression, lack of exercise, bad decisions, low conscientiousness, unhealthy peer group, not knowing your own brain vulnerability.
What Decelerates Brain Aging: good decisions, conscientiousness (#1 predictor of longevity!), positive peer group, protecting the brain, clean environment, physical health, healthy weight, 8 hours of sleep, new learning, great diet, wise calorie spending, omega 3s, green tea, exercise, gratitude, stress management.
It is never too late to start taking care of your brain. You can change your brain at any age with new habits.
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