Last century we were told that we were born with a certain number of neurons in our brain which stopped increasing when we were around 7 years of age. They also told us that we then killed off these precious brain cells by partying and/or too much alcohol!
This century we know that every day we manufacture 700 brand new neurons from our hippocampus, deep in the brain. And this is just the ‘average’ person not one who meditates, sleeps soundly, exercises and has a healthy diet.
These brand-new neurons are highly trainable. They enable us to grow new and creative connections in the brain and body. Did you know that your gut lining has 500 million neurons which are in constant conversation with your brain?
We can grow into greater wisdom as well as increase our capacity to retain useful information while making a valuable contribution to our own life and the lives of our loved-ones. We can maintain and improve our memory and mental abilities as we age.
A healthy brain doesn’t just happen. We can create a healthy environment for our brain that will ensure its optimum functioning.
Here are some important ingredients for maintaining and improving the functioning of our brain.
Good quality sleep is essential for brain maintenance. Your brain has its own lymphatic system which switches on while you’re sleeping. Insufficient sleep means insufficient cleansing of the daily residue of toxins from your brain.
A minimum of 7 hours and preferably 8 each night, is essential for your brain’s peak performance. A 20-minute rest after lunch increases your mental abilities by a whopping 36% – so have a daily siesta!
Exercise enables your brain to remain well oxygenated. Without oxygen, neurons die. Commit yourself to regular exercise that you can sustain and enjoy.
Your brain thrives on nutrient-dense foods especially good quality fats and oils along with fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds.
Eliminate chemical additives, pesticides and other toxins in food and eat a diet of foods that ‘grow’! These will give you life and energy whereas fast-food, denatured or processed food robs your body of nutrients and doesn’t provide you with what you need for vitality and health.
Avoid sugar and too many carbohydrates.
People who have a close and loving group of friends, family or community connections not only outlive other people, but they remain happier and more mentally capable as they age. Maintain or improve your social connections.
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it and this is especially so with the brain. Be a life-long student. Encourage your curiosity and learn new information, skills and tools for living well on a daily basis.
6. OPTIMISM AND GRATITUDE
Seeing the glass as half-full rather than half-empty makes a profound difference when it comes to maintaining a healthy brain. Be with people who are upbeat and are also striving to age well.
If you’ve become negative about life or aging, keep a gratitude book to train yourself to be on the lookout for things to be thankful for. Write 3-5 things for which to be grateful each night before sleep. Your brain gets a kick out of positive reinforcement!
HOW QUEST FOR LIFE CAN HELP
Join us for a fascinating new program – Reclaiming Your Brain! Learn how to maintain and improve your memory, concentration and life-long curiosity with our facilitators Bernadette Arena and Julia Willoughby.