Brain Health: Harnessing your Wisdom, Protecting your Knowledge

September 25, 2009 By: Rachelle Goering Category: Mind Body Spirit

Protecting your brain against the aging process is sensible and doable. We often laugh at our forgetfulness calling it a “senior moment” but it truly is not a laughable matter. It could be a sign that your brain is shrinking or not getting enough blood flow or maybe responding to hormonal changes. The fuzzy thinking that sometimes accompanies menopause can be managed with proper diet and supplements. Dr. Mark Hyman in his book, the Ultramind Solution, addresses the connection between inflammation and memory loss, depression and autism.

man meditating

Dementia, which means deprived of mind, and Alzheimer’s Disease are the two most common memory disorders associated with the aging process. But it’s not inevitable that we will succumb to some form of severe memory loss as we get older. According to Christiane Northrup MD, an expert on menopause and aging, our interconnections between our neurons continue to grow as we age, making it easier for us to make complex associations. She states that the older we become, the more efficient and sophisticated our brains get. We don’t make more neurons, though, so it is important to take care of the ones we have.

If you are experiencing increasing forgetfulness, foggy brain or depression, consider it a wake up call. This is a time in your life when you are living with more wisdom than ever. Your intuition is sharper, your knowledge greater from years of life’s experiences and study. Rather than become upset or fear that your memory loss is something that you just have to accept, view it as an opportunity to take better care of yourself and to change destructive patterns that are wearing your brain down rather than keeping it sharp and responsive.

The key to healthy brain and neural function is to keep inflammation down, get plenty of oxygen to your brain, feed it with nutrient rich foods, balance your hormones and make sure you stimulate it by trying something new everyday. Let’s look a bit more at inflammation. One of the biggest causes of inflammation is gluten intolerance. There is a direct connection between gluten sensitivity and neurological disease. If you are wondering if you belong to the 1/3rd of the population that is gluten sensitive, ask your health care provider for a test from Entero-labs. Other food sensitivities can contribute to inflammation, as well. It is worth your time and investment to know what they are. Here are two good lab tests–ALCAT and ELISA by BioTek. Talk to your nutritionist or provider about ordering one for you.

Healthy Brain Protocol

  • Go Gluten Free
  • Remove all artificial sweeteners, table sugar and high fructose corn syrup from you diet
  • Balance your blood sugar–too much or too little will affect your brain. Your brain relies on two main ingredients to function properly: glucose and oxygen
  • Increase oxygen flow–keep your arteries healthy that supply oxygen to your brain, get plenty of exercise, fresh air and practice pranayama
  • Take fish oils and DHA
  • Remove toxic chemicals such as over the counter drugs, prescription medications unless absolutely necessary and certainly recreational drugs.
  • Keep your work and living environment chemical free
  • Cultivate a happy, healthy attitude. Happy people generally have healthier brains. If you suffer from depression, anxiety or excessive stress, you may have a chemical imbalance in your brain. A well informed provider can help you determine if this is so and what to do about it.
  • Do crossword puzzles, learn a new language, take up dancing, try a headstand, meditate–go outside your comfort zone. It will stimulate your brain and you knows, it might open up a whole new world for you to explore
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