Why should we take care of our brain?
Our health should always come first, and many things you might not think of can deteriorate it in time. The brain especially, is one of the most important parts of our body since it’s responsible for most functions in our body, such as breathing, muscle control, and so on.
Many studies have shown that by making better choices, we can enhance our cognitive performance and minimize our risk of developing dementia and other age-related issues. And even though aging is something we can not avoid, there are some things we can do to make this process easier and keep ourselves healthy for as long as possible.
Did you know that our brain also needs exercise? Training is not only for your body, but mind as well. Mentally challenging activities, such as puzzles, crosswords and so on, can help keep your mind alert and healthy. Reading, singing or other hobbies you might have, also count as exercise, so make sure you do them more often.
And to keep your brain healthy for as long as possible, here are 8 things you should avoid.
1. Lack of sleep
Sleep deprivation makes it difficult for the brain to function correctly. If you’ve ever misplaced your keys and can’t remember where you put them, you’ve most likely experienced momentary memory loss due to a lack of sleep. Of course, this may happen now and then without having anything to do with sleep, but memory loss is a frequent manifestation of sleep deprivation and can cause cognitive problems.
Certain cells will die when you don’t get enough sleep, making it difficult to recall stuff. Sleep problems or interruptions can also cause psychological problems. So make it a priority to get your 7 hours of beauty sleep every day.
2. Sugar excess
Sugar is included in almost all of our foods and beverages, whether we realize it or not. Processed sugar intake is known to impair the brain’s and body’s ability to absorb proteins and nutrients. Nutritional deficiencies and brain diseases such as poor memory, learning difficulties, restlessness, and anxiety can result from inadequate nutrition.
When going to the grocery store, make sure you check the label and avoid products with high amounts of sugar. And don’t forget that sodas and sweets are your biggest enemies! A bottle of coke can have more than 10 spoons of sugar, so you might want to rethink your decision when you add a large coke to your meals.
We all know that smoking is not good for your health at all, and most times you might associate it with lung cancer, but to no surprise, that’s only one of the diseases you can develop from this unhealthy habit.
Cigarettes contain a variety of harmful compounds, many of which have negative effects on the brain. Many studies have shown that smoking tobacco causes harm to the neuronal function and cellular membranes in the midbrain. Fine and general motor capabilities, as well as coordination and balance, are all affected by these.
Breaking habits is not for the weak, so don’t be too harsh on yourself if this takes some time. The good thing is that the human body is extremely robust, and most of the harm produced by smoking may be fixed in a short period of time.
4. Lack of exercise
Most of us neglect the importance of physical exercise, or just do it to achieve the desired looks, and forget about the health benefits it brings us. Well, now it’s the time to change that and here’s why.
Regular physical activity and staying healthy lowers blood pressure while also increasing blood flow and the formation of blood vessels that deliver oxygen to the brain. Living a healthy lifestyle via exercise can help preserve your nervous system by decreasing your diabetes risk. Not only that, but moving your body can also make you happier, due to the endorphins your body releases.
So what more do you need to start exercising?
5. Drinking alcohol
Alcohol affects judgment, as we all know. But few people understand, unfortunately, how much alcohol might influence your cognitive performance. The higher the alcohol percentage, the higher the amount of neuronal cells you will lose.
If you have trouble concentrating or memory problems, you should know that these are signs of a damaged brain. And it is strongly linked to alcohol consumption.
Information is stored during the REM sleep phase of the brain sleeping pattern. When we consume even a modest quantity of alcohol, our REM sleep is disrupted, making it difficult to recall new information. Even information gained just days before drinking alcohol might be lost, implying that drinking alcohol can lead people to forget information they previously understood.
Over time, alcohol can seriously have an impact on your memory and not only, so it’s better to skip it when you can.
6. Too much stress
I think we can all agree that life can get pretty stressful from time to time. And the more responsibilities we have, the more pressure we have on our shoulders.
But stress itself is not actually the problem, but the excess of cortisol in the brain and it can cause some serious damage over time. Even though cortisol is a healthy hormone in small proportions, too much of it can affect the neuronal performance. Many studies have demonstrated the harmful effects of chronic stress.
When stress exceeds your ability to manage, it disrupts brain function and causes you to feel gloomy, depressed, irritated, restless, and sleepless. If you experience some or all of these feelings frequently, it’s important to seek counseling or remove yourself from stressful situations.
It can cause synapse function to be disrupted, resulting in a lack of sociability and withdrawal from social contacts. Stress can damage brain cells and possibly shrink it’s size. The prefrontal cortex, which is important for cognitive performance, contracts as a result of chronic stress.
So remember this next time you put too much pressure on yourself!
7. Not eating breakfast
You may have heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true. But why? Well, this is because in order to perform at its optimum, our brain need the right nutrition at the right time. Because of our fast-paced lifestyles, many of us postpone or skip breakfast in order to save time in the morning.
This results in a lack of sugar and nutritional intake to the brain. To operate, the brain requires glucose. A poor diet can have negative impacts on the nervous system in the long run, such as brain cell loss. On the short run, skipping breakfast can make you feel extra tired. Making a habit out of starting the day on an empty stomach will have a negative impact on your metabolism and brain.
More than that, a study showed that people who skip breakfast on a daily basis are more likely to develop brain hemorrhage by 36%. So think twice before you make the decision to skip breakfast!
8. Working when sick
Yes, you can bring this up to your boss next time you’re not feeling well. When experiencing intense stress, the immune system does not perform at it’s best, which makes it more likely to become ill. If we continue to work when unwell, the brain’s effectiveness is sure to suffer significantly. This will only make things worse.
When we are sick, our brain and bodies are already working overtime to combat the virus. Working while sick will simply add to the stress. So take a pause, unwind, and give your body the rest that it desperately needs.
So if you care about your health and want to maintain your body young for as long as possible, you should definitely avoid or at least reduce the unhealthy habits listed above, together with giving your brain some additional vitamins for increased performance.
Which of these thing do you do regularly? Don’t forget to share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below!
And if you found this article helpful and want to find out more about your body and the signals it sends you on a daily basis, make sure to check out: 8 Signs of a Heart Attack Seniors May Feel.