Brainiac time! It's so important to remember ( LOL! ) to keep up with the managing of our brain health. Research is showing that the brains of older people can create as many neurons in the area of memory as those of younger people, however the difference is older brains have reduced blood flow to nourish brain cells. Aging brain cells are dividing less often and creating fewer New neurons. So...new brain cells do exist in older people, just are not as active!
[ These ladies have the right idea for their brain health! Jamming out to favorite tunes is fun and good for the brain and heart! ]
There are some age related cognitive actions we can all take to keep that brain flowing with neurons, making sure that our capillaries are healthy and feeding our brain nerve cells. One of the foremost actions we can do is to Get Movin'!! :() If we desire healthy brains and lives we can't afford NOT to exercise ( unless otherwise stated differently by your doctor for other reasons ). Exercise is found to improve your memory as well as brain function and cognition, and in the future protect us from degeneration!!
Soaking up that sun, wouldn't we all love to be able to do this on a regular basis?! Too little sunlight isn't good for the brain because higher levels of vitamin D in your system allow us to perform better, and can even slow down the aging process of the brain!
But, for many of us, we aren't able to get 'sunny' because of where we live or other circumstances, to soak in all that glorious vitamin D directly!! So here is where it's important that your get your vitamin D ( and other vitamin ) levels checked by your doctor. Taking vitamin D supplements could be helpful [ if ], you are found to be low.
Many people find Light Therapy lamps to be helpful with mood issues like Seasonal light Disorder - which are brain related - due to lack of sunlight. Light therapy lamps help to regulate circadian rhythms that regulate the cortisol and melatonin levels in our body. Cortisol that's too high is connected to depression, anxiety and stress levels, so regulating those levels can help in reducing those stress issues.
Our eyes are designed for natural lighting conditions outdoors. The retina has light receptors wired to our brains which respond in positive, healthy ways to outdoor light.
Light stimulates our hormones and the neurotransmitters that influence our well being and it also includes our sleep/wake patterns. Full spectrum light from light lamps signals the body to feel focused, relaxed and revitalized, and combat winter blahs, jet lag and the effects of nocturnal work shifts. So if you can't make it ( out in the sun) fake it with replicated sunlight! I'm going to try one of these because I'm way too sun deprived! :()
Eating well is another key factor to brain health. We've discussed this in our other brain-posts, and it can't be reiterated enough; Nutrition Matters! :) Antioxidants and amino acids are especially important for healthy brain function. In general, the foods good for our whole body are good for our brains too, and this includes whole grains, seeds and nuts, avocados ( good fats ), even caffeine (if it fits in with your health regimen, because it boosts cognitive function by helping you to remain alert and focused).
The caffeine in a few cups of coffee or tea is the idea, NOT those energy drinks like Red Bull which can be dangerous for the heart and body depending on your health. For people with diabetes too much caffeine reduces insulin sensitivity, and caffeine overdosing can lead to palpitations of the heart, high blood pressure and more. In children caffeine can possible lead to neurological and cardiovascular system effects. [ Many of these energy drinks are loaded with other harmful ingredients, including loads of sugars ].
Here's a fun thing to do for brain health and improvement; play Tetris!! Actually playing Tetris does increase brain matter short term but it also helps with spatially related tasks! Reorganizing you home will never be so easy after consistent rounds of Tetris!! I knew gaming was good for us! Tetris can easily be played on your tablet or smartphone for short burst each day for the effects!! Hey, how about playing Tetris in the sun!! :() - Double shot of brain boosting fun!!
The gamer nerd in me is very happy! :() Here's another interesting fact found after playing Tetris; traumatic experiences have a shortened effect on the brain, meaning this game helps the brain from solidifying traumatic memories, leading to fewer flashbacks and negative memories over time. Wow! We need to figure out a way so begin shipping gaming systems to our soldiers over seas!
Simply adopting a couple of these habits can make a difference in your brain health. Habits take time to build so choose the ones most appealing that you believe you will do and get to building healthy brains!!
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