Let’s talk about what the brain is. The brain is a complex organ that plays a vital role to function. Although it is not a muscle, it is good for us to exercise and care for it as any other part of our body. By being mindful of what we consume and the actions we take to release toxins, the better we can optimize brain health.
Your big, fat brain
Firstly, think about what you had for breakfast. How did that affect how you felt for the rest of the day? When you eat or drink something, your body processes it in a variety of stages. The components breakdown and travel to every part of your body via your bloodstream. This is how it can affect your brain and cognitive awareness.
Your brain holds 25% of your body’s cholesterol. It’s safe to say that our brains love “fat”. But before you reach for shellfish, eggs, meat, and cheese, think twice about what kind of fat you are putting in your body. “Good fats”, also known as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats on the nutrition label, is your best bet on brain healthy fats. It can be found in avocados, nuts, and fish. Incorporating these into your diet will not only ensure a healthy brain, but also a healthy heart. Cholesterol is vital for proper function of both organs, be aware that it is not impacting negatively.
Too high LDL (bad cholesterol) or too low HDL (good cholesterol) can manifest in the body in the following ways:
- Feeling sluggish
- Memory decrease
- Slurred speech
- Shortness of breath
- in the worst cases, heart attack or stroke
Most importantly, if you experience any or all of these, contact your doctor. You may need to adjust to a more plant based diet.
Hydration is KEY
Water accounts for 75% of your brain’s mass. Not only does it filter out toxins, it helps keep you cool and collected. Being dehydrated could increase your risk of heat exhaustion or even heat stroke, both of which can damage the brain. Be mindful and avoid beverages with high sugar or alcohol content because types of drinks deprive your brain of moisture. While our brains absorb water to flush out these toxins, when feeling clouded judgement or brain fog, try a tall glass of water. H20 keeps us focused, energized, and experiences better clarity and creativity.
Take the time to clear any junk that is taking up too much space. A few ways to do so is to:
1) Get the blood moving. Exercise is a productive way to increase circulation to your brain and muscles. Going outside and taking a breath of fresh air, going on a hike/walk, doing a workout/activity, whatever movement you need to feel good, do that!
2) Limit your screen exposure. Stimulus can come from every which way, in ways more than just food, but what we consume visually too. Our brains take a lot of pressure from the outside world. With technology we have fast content at our fingertips. This can be considered a bad thing if not used properly. Try turning off your notifications to disconnect from constant alerts, or deleting social apps for a period of time, or set a time limit on said applications.
3) Rest. Our brains can become overworked, so it is important to rest effectively. Relieve stress by taking breaks often and getting a good night’s sleep. By doing so, productivity and clarity will increase. Sleep and resting from large amounts of stimuli is how the brain recovers, properly stores, and retains information. Effectively wind down from the day or large tasks by simplifying and slowing down. It is not wise to increase stimuli before bedtime because it can reduce your length of quality sleep.
Now that you learned a little bit about what it takes to have a healthy brain, how do you rate yourself or the loved one you take care of? What areas are you doing well in? What areas can be improved to help your productivity? Take a mental note of your answers. Integrate these methods into your daily routine, above all see how they can optimize your brain health!