Thursday, January 9, 2014
Healthy Brain Habits
Here are some steps you can take to help optimize brain health and sharpen your memory: Eat balanced meal Studies that focus on food and memory show that the more produce you eat, the better. One 25-year Harvard Medical School study of more than 13,000 women showed that the participants who ate relatively high amounts of vegetables over the years had less age-related decline in memory. Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cabbage) and leafy green vegetables had the biggest effect on helping women retain their memory during the course of the study. In another study, the phytochemicals, anthocyanin (found in berries of all colors and cherries) and quercetin (found in onions, kale and apples), actually reversed some of the age-related memory deficits in laboratory animals. Phosphatidylserine, found naturally in soy, beef, and seafood (primarily oysters) is thought to help promote cell-to-cell communication in the brain as part of the cell membrane. In addition to memory conditions, phosphatidylserine is also being studied for neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Based on the Chinese dietary theory, same shaped food tonifies same shaped organs. Walnut bears the shape of the brain, so eating walnuts has benefit of memory. Herbal supplements, such as Ginkgo biloba and American gingsen are also linked to better memory. Heart Health A healthy heart makes for a healthy brain. Because oxygen and nutrients are carried in the blood stream, anything that impedes blood flow will starve those all-important brain cells. Review your blood pressure and cholesterol level. Know your numbers and if they are elevated, take immediate measures to bring them down. Sleep When we sleep, the brain has time to recharge. Studies show that 7-8 hours of sleep a night helps to strengthen memory. Acupuncture is effective at treating sleep problems, so please let us know if you are having trouble sleeping. Exercise Regular physical activity has been shown to decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer�s disease by about half. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and helps regulate blood sugar levels; both of which improve brain function and memory. Aim for 30 minutes a day. Challenge Your Brain Keep your mind active and challenged. Brain function decreases with age. Studies show that cognitive exercise can improve blood flow to the brain. Spend at least 15 minutes each day on a mental exercise such as a crossword puzzle, journaling or learning a new language to slow memory loss.