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Health and Your Brain Connection

“Our mental and emotional diets determine our overall energy levels, health and well-being more than we realize. Every thought and feeling, no matter how big or small, impacts our inner energy reserves.” – Doc Childre

So, you’ve learned how to exercise your brain, stimulate your brain to be more retentive, and how to avoid stress that can affect your brain’s health. But there’s one more thing you can do to assure a healthy brain that will stay sharp for a long time. Believe it or not, you must take special care of your physical health in order to insure a healthy brain.

Learning to keep your brain healthy begins with your diet. That’s right, you need brain food. A starved brain will not get you far. Giving your brains the right foods provides the nutrients and chemicals you need to help develop your brain. Those brain cells need protection to resist damage.

The first nutrient you should consider adding to your diet, is Choline, a B-vitamin that will nourish the cells. It promotes brain health and can boost your memory. The best foods to in which to find this nutrient are eggs, nuts and meat. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are components of brain cell membranes, need to be replenished regularly with foods such as sardines, salmon, mackerel, and trout. You can also supplement your diet with fish oil tablets. This nutrient is especially important, since when you’re learning anything new, it creates new connections between cells in your brain, and that requires new membranes to cover them. So, enjoy that fresh fish as often as possible.

Making the news today is the information about antioxidants, especially those found in vitamin C, vitamin E, and beta-carotene. These are necessary to protect healthy cells from the damage caused by free radicals, which attack cells at a molecular level. The best source for vitamin C is in any of the citrus fruits, as well as strawberries, cantaloupe, spinach, green peppers, and broccoli. For a good supply of vitamin E, eat whole grains, nuts, apricots, fish, and vegetable oils. As for beta-carotene, try milk, peaches, and egg yolks. Stock up on the strawberries, blueberries, and spinach, which contain phytochemicals and will help boost your memory.

Basically, by eating a lot of dark-skinned fruits and vegetables, you’re giving yourself the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidants.

Watching your diet and getting out to exercise several times a week will help keep your cholesterol down. This is important since studies have shown that high cholesterol can lead to unhealthy levels of beta-amyloid, a toxic substance that doctors have discovered which builds up in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, and kills healthy brain cells. The good news is that HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol can help protect your brain cells. Using olive oil to cook your food, instead of mono and polyunsaturated fats will help your body and your brain. Baking or grilling your food rather than frying is another way to build up your HDL levels and lower your LDL levels.

Equally important to your brain is carefully watching your blood pressure. Doctors found that those who had high blood pressure in their middle years were six times more likely to develop some form of dementia later in life than their healthier counter-parts. Seeing your doctor and treating that high blood pressure is essential for good memory, and to help prevent dementia later on in life.

Eating properly and reducing your consumption of high fat and cholesterol foods, plus adding some form of exercise to your life, even if it’s just walking each day, will help you manage your body weight. Obesity is not just bad for your overall physical health, but it is also damaging to your brain. Once again, the doctors have discovered that adults who are overweight in their middle years were twice as likely to develop dementia later in life.

In order to have a healthy brain, it’s important to have a healthy body. Illness not only slows the body, but can bring about depression, which affects the brain. Physical fatigue can cause mental fatigue as well. You’ve heard people say, “I’m so tired, I just can’t think straight.” And it’s true, you need to be well rested and rejuvenated in order to be at the top of your game, physically and mentally. And remember, exercise also stimulates your brain. When you exercise, endorphins pump through your system, affecting your brain and making you feel good.

It’s simple, without a healthy body, you can’t hope to save your brain, your memory and your cognitive functions.

“Brains well prepared are the monuments where knowledge is most surely engraved.” – Jean Jacques Rousseau

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