Are you stuck with the brain you were born with?
A lot of my emails have talked about the benefits of nourishing our body or going to the gym so we can feel and look the way we want!!
But what about our brains?
It was thought that early periods in our childhood development determine the majority of our brain’s neural networks and that they stay relatively unchanged for the rest of our life. Well our brains our like a living creaturewith an appetite, one that can grow and change itself with proper nourishment and exercise.
New research over the last few decades in neuroscience has shown that the human brain is actually very adaptable to change even in adulthood.
This is called neuroplasticity – your brain’s ability to restructure and replace many aspects of itself. 1
- “Neuroplasticity has allowed people to recover from stroke, injury, and birth abnormalities, improve symptoms of autism, ADD and ADHD, learning disabilities and other brain deficits, ease chronic pain, pull out of depression and addictions, and reverse obsessive-compulsive patterns.”wrote Debbie Hampton – You’re Not Stuck With The Brain You Were Born With
Thousands of new neurons are added into the adult hippocampus each day. However, most of the new cells do not survive (over half of them, if not more, die within just a few weeks of their birth). One of the most effective ways to keep these cells from dying is by learning. 2
So what are you doing to keep or even grow your brain cells?!?
Doctors are estimating that Alzheimer’s may start long before even the earliest symptoms become apparent – up to 20 years before symptoms manifest. 3
1. Get Sleep – Sleep helps learning retention and repair, build, and restructure neurons.
- From my last article, set an alarm an hour before bed to start winding down and turn off electronic devices (perhaps read or meditate)
2. Find a Creative Hobby 4 – Don’t focus on the amount of time you practice at first, but rather aim for consistency. Devote what time you can, but be firm with your commitment. Schedule it and do it.
- Create Artwork – Painting, mosaics, or pottery are options
- Learn an Instrument – I have been taking piano and devote 20 minutes per day with one 30 minute lesson a week.
- Learn a new language – Take a class or do it at home (i.e. Rosetta Stone)
3. Reduce Stress
- Meditation (even if it is 5 minutes a day) Get a meditation app – I use Simple Habit
- Practice Yoga (even if it is 20 minutes) Get a yoga app (I go to class but sometimes I use the Downdog app at home)
4. Intermittent Fasting – it’s not only great for fat loss and longevity but also for neurogenesis. Aging rats started intermittent fasting regimens and markedly improved their scores of motor coordination and cognitive tests. Learning and memory scores also improved after IF. 5
- I find I am sharper and more alert when I am in my fasting mode. If you have questions about intermittent fasting just REPLY to this email and ask
5. Exercise – Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise like jogging, power walking, swimming, or other similar activity
6. Eat polyphenols – theywork not only as anti-oxidants but also in a neuroprotective capacity in the brain. 6
- Berries, pomegranate juice, wine and green tea have all been cited as having the potential to help people live longer and better.
- Along with eating well, I take OPC-3 and Resveratrol to get my polyphenols
7. Simple task – Start doing things with your non-dominant hand like brushing your teeth or texting
I could go on and on about ways to nourish the brain but start now and do a little bit everyday
REPLY back and let me know if you are going to start anything to help grow your brain cells.
Have a great weekend and it looks like the weather is starting to turn for the better!!
P.S. – Check out this testimonial that Dr. Josh emailed me regarding using the Simple Intermittent Fasting Journal
As a doctor, this is one of the first diets that too me really makes sense. By fasting for 18 hours, thus letting your body’s fat stores naturally break down to convert to carbs, helps one lose weight and tone up without having to work out like crazy and restricting your self from eating during all 3 meals during a day.
I have been doing the 18 hour intermittent fasting diet for the last 6 weeks, usually from 6pm to noon the next day. I hope for it not to be a diet, but a lifestyle change. I have felt better and healthier doing it, i have not really felt very hungry (maybe some grumbing from 10-noon). I have toned up and lost weight without really working out more than my typical 3 times a week for about an hour doing some weights and cardio.
For me, it is an easy diet to follow by taking food completely out of the equation from the evening to the next morning, there are no calories to count, no foods to restrict yourself completely from in that window since no food is allowed. I know I am eating less calories total during the day, i feel better and actually feel like i have more energy by doing it. Some days I try to go until 2-3pm as well, and then have a healthy dinner. Much easier to do this during the week, weekends I often will eat until 8-9pm.
I highly recommend it to anyone to give it a try