One of the keys to living a Primo Healthy life is having a healthy brain.
We don't often think of our brain as being important in keeping the rest of our body healthy, but by learning the brain's role in maintaining all your vital functions and movement, it becomes clear that we must tend to this organ carefully.
Some Facts About the Brain
- The average adult brain weighs about 3 pounds.
- Apart from water, about 2/3 of your brain is made of fat and cholesterol.
- As far as science can tell, you're born with the total number of neurons (brain cells) that you will have in your lifetime. Once you lose them, they are gone for good.
- Healthy neurons can create new connections with other neurons accross a space where another neuron has died.
- The brain and the immune system communicate and work together to defend the body against pathogens and disease.
- Healthy elderly people can have the same cognitive function as young people.
- The brain and the central nervous system control our heart beat, our breathing, our balance, our movements...
I could go on and on about the brain, but I think you get the jist. It is important to keep the brain as healthy as possible. We shouldn't accept advanced loss of brain function as a normal part of aging. It is possible to grow old and have a healthy functioning brain. But to do so we must understand how to maintain a healthy brain.
7 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Brain
- Avoid toxins in your food and your environment. Some examples of food toxins are processed foods, excess sugar and unhealthy highly refined oils (like corn, canola and soy bean).
- Maintain a healthy fatty acid balance. The American diet is full of what are called Omega 6 oils derived from corn and other processed oils. Too much of these promote inflammation in the body and the brain. Eating foods high in Omega 3 fats and supplementing with them is key to keeping inflammation down and promoting a healthy brain. Foods high in Omega 3's include fish and fish oils, flax, grass fed meats and pastured eggs.
- Monitor key brain nutrients. Vitamin B12, folate and iron are important in keeping optimal oxygen flow to the brain. The brain can only survive 4 to 6 minutes without oxygen.
- Heal your gut. Having a leaky or inflamed gut can damage the brain. Many who have a leaky gut also have a permeable blood brain barrier. This means things that shouldn't get into the brain will.
- Use your brain. The brain, like any other muscle, must be used and worked with to keep it healthy. Cognitive motor exercises like learning an instrument or learning a new language are like plyometrics for the brain!
- Exercise your body. Exercising the body, especially with cardio, helps to maintain blood flow and oxygen throughout the body and the brain.
- Get adequate sleep. I used to brag as a youth that I could stay up all night watching TV or playing games. But now I know the importance of getting at least 7 hours of sleep a day, if not more. Your brain needs it.