8 Ways to Optimize Your Brain Power!
For decades, we were told that as we age, we will experience mental decline such as memory and other cognitive skills. In fact, we once thought our brains were hard-wired. That no matter what we did, we could not improve our cognitive function. We saw the exact same beliefs play out in science with our gene expression. Researchers at one time believed our genes were set in stone, that we had no control over our gene expression. Once again, this turned out to be false.
New research, however, shows that cognitive decline can be prevented and even more importantly, we can build new neuronal connections or pathways. This is called ‘Neuroplasticity.’ Neuroplasticity is what allows the brain to be “re-wired” to function with improved performance – no matter what your age.
There are actions you can take starting today to powerfully help maximize your brain power, build new neuronal connections and keep that memory!
Enjoy a Brain-Healthy Diet
Diet is the absolute foundation to not only optimal health and weight, but to brain health as well. The good news is that a nutrient-rich diet impacts all three areas equally.
To slow cognitive decline and improve brain health, ensure you eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in nutrients such as whole eggs, nuts and seeds, leafy greens, veggies, berries, fatty fish high in omega 3 fat, turmeric and ginger spice, olive oil or avocado oil while reducing excess carbohydrates in general and eliminating refined, processed foods such as sugar, fast food, white flour and fried foods.
A food rich in antioxidants, polyphenols and healthy fats have a powerful impact on cognitive function and enhances neuroprotective qualities.
Chances are you’ve recently heard about CBD oil. CBD (aka Cannabidiol) is a compound derived from the Cannabis plant that has positive medicinal effects, is very safe and legal, and does not make people feel “high.” Research shows that CBD can help increase neuronal connections between brain cells including stimulating neurogenesis – the production of new neurons. This is key as attentiveness, memory, critical thinking are all a result of neurogenesis.
CBD can help reduce inflammation, by reducing oxygen buildup, and by working as a brain stimulant and neuroprotectant. In addition, CBD can help protect brain cells, reduce anxiety, depression, stress, improve sleep, and addiction.
Exercise has a powerful impact upon brain health. It promotes more blood flow to the brain, oxygen and promotes BDNF (brain-derived neurotropic factor) that protects and promotes the growth of new neurons sand exercise promotes the release of hormones which provide an excellent environment for the growth of new brain cells.
Any type of physical movement is important but research shows that muscle building or strength training will help increase brain health. Additionally, HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts can help keep dementia at bay as you age more so than steady-state exercise. Exercise most days of the week and move often throughout the day.
We all know sugar is not healthy for us generally. However, research shows that sugar has a powerful impact upon brain health! Another reason to eliminate from the diet.
Excess sugar is detrimental not only to the brain, but the entire body. Even a once-time occurrence of elevated glucose in the bloodstream can be harmful to the brain, slowing cognitive function, memory and focus.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the brain remains very active while we sleep. Sleep plays a housekeeping role that flushes out the toxins (such as beta-amaloid) in your brain while you are asleep that have built-up while you are awake. This process is all managed by the glymphatic system in the brain.
- Ensure you have a set schedule for sleeping – go to bed and wake up at the same time each day.
- Avoid blue light from computers, phones, TV etc. 90 minutes before bedtime as this type of light interferes with melatonin production.
- Sleep in a very cool and dark room
- Avoid any stimulants before bedtime such as caffeine
- Most adults need 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night.
Omega-3 (EPA & DHA) are especially important for the human brain. Both DHA and EPA Omega-3s generate neuroprotective molecules to support brain health. But it is the Omega-3 DHA that is key to brain health. EPA plays a critical role in supporting the healthy regulation of cellular inflammation, while DHA is the most abundant omega-3 found in the brain
Krill Oil contains Omega-3 DHA, important for brain function and metabolism, as well as phospholipids which assist with Omega-3 DHA transfer across the blood brain barrier. Where fish oils are excellent for health, Krill oil shines because you need less of it and it easily crosses the blood-brain barrier where fish oil cannot.