Best Ways To Maintain Brain Health Naturally
Did you know that scientists have found that on average the human brain shrinks by 5 percent every decade after the age of 40? Since the brain is so important for all aspects of health, the last thing you want is for it to be shrinking! Unfortunately, that’s precisely what happens to the average man. But the good news is that just because it happens to the average man doesn’t mean it has to happen to you.
In today’s article I’m going to share with you the cutting edge information that you can use to protect your brain. When you do these things, you can be safe from brain atrophy. Instead, you can keep your brain healthy at any age. You can stay sharp and enjoy good health for life. Read on and I’ll tell you how.
The Fate Of The Average Man
Until recently most studies had reported some really dismal news. Researchers told us that on average after the age of 40 men’s brains start to atrophy (shrink). The average atrophy per decade is 5 percent, and that’s a lot. With that trend, the average man can expect to suffer significant cognitive decline over the years. In fact, researchers say that the atrophy of the brain seen in many men may account for dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases associated with cognitive decline that are so common.
Researchers have found that the whole brain doesn’t atrophy equally. Instead, certain regions are most likely to shrink. The areas at greatest risk are the areas associated with decision making and memory. Other areas that are also vulnerable include areas associated with muscle coordination.
But here’s the good news. Not all men suffer from brain atrophy. And when researchers started to investigate why, they found that men who stay sharp and keep their brains healthy have some things in common. I’m going to share those things with you in just a moment. When you do those things, you too can keep your brain operating at top condition indefinitely.
How To Take Charge And Stay Healthy
So what is it that the men who remain healthy do that the others don’t do? It turns out they do a bunch of things, all of which have been shown to make a major difference in brain health over time.
One of the main things that men with bigger, healthier brains do is move regularly and safely. The healthiest men aren’t playing lots of American football, which is shown to result in traumatic brain injury (and atrophy). They also aren’t overdoing long distance running or other steady-state cardio exercise because that type of exercise can lead to cardiovascular disease when done excessively. Instead, the smartest men are doing lots of low and moderate intensity activity every day. They walk. They climb. They swim. They do stuff that is low impact but that gets their bodies moving regularly.
The second thing that men with healthy brains do is get plenty of sleep every night. That’s because sleep is the time during which the brain does all kinds of important housekeeping. It’s also the time when the body produces growth hormone and testosterone along with other hormones that protect the brain. So the men with healthy brains get to bed early and take care to get quality sleep. It’s worth noting that mild to moderate exercise in the daytime is shown to improve the quality of sleep at night. So combining the first and second things that healthy brained men do is greater than the sum of the parts.
Thirdly, men with healthy brains have a relaxed attitude in life. They don’t sweat the small stuff. Science has shown that chronic elevations of stress hormones directly cause atrophy in parts of the brain. So to keep your brain healthy, whenever you find yourself getting stressed, ask yourself if it’s worth shrinking your brain over. And if not, do what the big brained men do, and let it go.
Finally, men who keep their brains in top condition also are smart about how they eat. They go easy on fast food and alcohol. Instead, they eat lots of delicious, fresh food. They have a high intake of fruits and vegetables. And they eat natural foods instead of artificial and industrially-produced foods. For example, the men with big brains opt for natural dietary fats like butter, coconut oil, and olive oil instead of so-called “vegetable” oils like corn, soy, or canola.
Those four things - movement, sleep, stress reduction, and nutrition - form the basis of brain health. And if you don’t do those things, no amount of supplements or wishful thinking will be likely to help. However, science has also found that in addition to those things, there are a few other specific nutrients or foods that can help.
Studies have found that B vitamins are important for maintaining brain health. In particular, vitamin B12 and folate have been shown to help protect the brain. The results are very impressive. In one study a long term follow-up showed that men who supplemented with B12 and folate had more than 50 percent less atrophy just from the vitamins alone. A high quality B vitamin supplement can be good insurance.
Another nutrient that can be protective is omega 3 fat found in oily fish like salmon. In previous articles I’ve warned you about much of the hype surrounding fish oil supplements. They can be dangerous when used in excess. However, studies have shown that modest amounts of natural oily fish (like salmon) can protect the brain. Studies show that not much is needed. In fact, eating as little as a single serving of salmon per month can make a difference. More is not better, but eating a serving or two of salmon or herring per month can also be good insurance.
More good news is that science has shown in recent years that adult brains can grow and repair themselves. That means that even if you already had some atrophy, doing the things listed above can reverse that. It’s never too late to get healthier for life.
When it comes to brain health, science has shown that it’s not all about luck. How you take care of your brain makes a huge difference. When you take care of your brain in the right ways, you can expect not only to maintain health, but even to regain health. So start taking care of your brain today by walking, getting plenty of sleep, lowering stress, and eating well (plenty of fruits and vegetables and emphasizing natural foods instead of industrial foods). For added insurance you can take a high quality B vitamin supplement and eat a few servings of oily fish per month. Do that, and you’ll be well on your way to a lifetime of good brain health.