How can we keep our brains healthy



A healthy mind breeds a healthy body! Brain keeps changing with age and so is the mental function along with it. As we age, our experiences and knowledge keep our brains working, developing and learning. While there is no way to stop the cognitive decline, there are ways by which we can keep the brain healthy and slow down the cognitive impairment. 

Avoid/Manage Stressors (Staying Calm):  

Stress is a part of our life. However proper techniques to manage stress goes a long way in creating emotional and physical well being.  Some tips include: 

  • Identify the stressors and try to eliminate them - e.g. if your to do list is long, cut those tasks which are not urgent.  Prioritize your work.
  • Manage a stressful situation - be it relationship or at work, learn to manage people, accept, compromise or ignore.  Forget and move on in life! 
  • Adapt - if you are not able to change the stressor then try to adapt to the situation.  Have a positive frame of mind, don't strive for perfection, try to change the way you perceive the situation.

Daily purging and detox (Emotional first aid) 

Emotions that we feel can change and impact the biology of cells. Our cells are affected by both positive and negative emotions. Hence, good emotions like joy, love, kindness, compassion, empathy, happiness, and bliss encourage new (healthy) cell growth. On the flip side, negative emotions do exactly the opposite; they send signals to our cells that interrupt normal cell regeneration. Emotional detox is necessary to keep our brain healthy. 

  • Identify the negative emotions and acknowledge them.  Dont ignore them. 
  • Let out the emotions, any pent up emotions like sorrow or anger does more harm if locked inside. Cry, if you want to and release the negative emotion. 
  • Share your thoughts with someone you trust, friend or family or even a counselor. 
  • Surround yourself with good people, positivity, spiritual books. 
  • Take a break from the routine to help you relax and put things in perspective.

Exercise 

Research shows that using your muscles also helps to keep the brain healthy by stimulating new cell growth and increasing the connections between the brain cells. 

  • Aerobic exercises, including jogging, swimming, cycling, walking, gardening, and dancing, have been proved to reduce anxiety and depression. 
  • Yoga and meditation are age old techniques to help the mind to relax and reduce stress. 
  • Mind exercises to sharpen the brain includes word games, puzzles, memory games, learning a foreign language, cooking, playing music or instruments etc.

Deep Sleep 

Helps in a number of brain functions including how the neurons communicate with each other.  Amyloid beta, an abnormal protein, which gets eliminated during a deep sleep cycle can clump to form sticky plaques due to inadequate sleep.  These plaques are the hallmark of developing alzheimer’s.  Good quality sleep is imperative to healthy brain cells. 

Laughter, Friends and Socializing 

Leading an active social life can protect you against memory loss. Spending time with others, engaging in stimulating conversation, and staying in touch and connected with family and friends are good for your brain health. Studies have shown that those with the most social interaction in their community experience the slowest rate of memory decline. 

Brain Healthy Food 

Mindful eating and consuming food rich in micro nutrients help the brain to be fit and functional. Brain food includes: 

  • Antioxidant rich food - colorful and seasonal fruits and vegetables rich in phytonutrients, antioxidants like blueberries, broccoli, oranges protect the brain cells from the harmful effects of oxidation. 
  • Omega 3-fatty acids - help in building brain and nerve cells, these fats are vital for learning and memory. Found in fish, nuts like walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and so on. 
  • Coffee and dark chocolate - three main components, flavonoids, caffeine and antioxidants help by increasing alertness, concentration and improving the mood

Herbs and Supplements

  • Kapikacchu ( Mucuna pruriens ) is one of the best herb to prevent cellular damage  
  • Ashwagandha, Brahmi, Gokshur, Guduchi, Shatavari. 
  • Pure cow ghee stored in silver utensil - consume daily 
  • Soaked almonds ( preferably mamra ) & walnuts 
  • Shiroabhyanga - Dhanvantari oil massage on the pressure points of the brain to pacify the doshas 

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