Power up Your Brain Health

Hit the Power Button and transform your Brain Health

by Sally Head
Certified Group Fitness Instructor, Personal Trainer and Wellness Coach, and 200 RYT Yoga Teacher.
She can be found hanging upside down in her yoga trapeze at her studio.
www.headspace.fit or headspacefit@gmail.com.

Have you ever heard of brain fog? It is a real thing and although there are many reasons that cause the brain to feel a little confused, it doesn’t mean you have to live your daily lives with it.

In fact, taking care of your brain health should be on the top of the list of your health needs this year. Just like our bodies age, so do our brains, but this doesn’t mean we let it go. We work out or do exercises to keep the body healthy and moving, we should also strive to do some things to keep our brains healthy. Here are a few, simple things you can do to give your brain a mental boost.

First, we need to look at some of the root causes of brain dysfunction. Primarily this can be caused from a high exposure to neurotoxins. Neurotoxins can be found in many foods that contain artificial flavors and colors or artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame. Neurotoxins are chemicals that are found in household products such a cleansers and laundry detergent. There are many neurotoxins which are chemicals that can damage the brain and the nervous system, so it is best to avoid these.

Although it is challenging to avoid all the chemicals and neurotoxins that surrounds our everyday lives, it is important to be aware of where they lurk and how to avoid them. Some of the worse culprits are ‘air fresheners,’ which literally don’t freshen the air, but pollute it by adding more harmful chemicals known as phthalates into the air and into your lungs…do you really want to breathe in chemicals? A better alternative is to use an oil diffuser with a few added drops of clean essential oils such as orange or mint for a fresh, daily aroma, or lavender for a calming, winding-down scent.

If you use scented dryer sheets, you are better off soaking a cotton cloth in water and dropping a few essential oils on the cloth, or use felted dryer balls and do the same thing; sprinkle a few drops of essential oils such as lemon, citrus or lavender and let your clothes soak up the scent.

The chemicals that coat dryer sheets are known to have a toxic load of neurotoxins that not only get on your clothes, which then get on you, but they are emitted out of your dryer vent and into the air both in and outside your home.

Instead of going through the long list of chemicals that can be lurking in your pantry, your home, or even your clothes, here are:

10 Simple Ways to Stimulate and Transform your Brain Health:

1. Your brain needs sleep, so don’t skip this one. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Try a cool mist humidifier to keep your bedroom cool and moist. A dry, hot room can cause you to open your mouth during sleep which can disrupt your natural sleep patterns throughout the night.

2. Even during the socially-distant times, it is essential to be in contact and social as much as you can. Even if it is a zoom call, a talk with your neighbor from your windows or any other safe form of communication with another person helps to stimulate connections between the brain cells.

3. Exercise the brain. Try to learn something new, try a new recipe for dinner, do a puzzle or play a mind game such as crossword puzzles or even chess (chess.com offers a free week) to build brain connections and boost memory.

4. Walk daily, even if it is a short distance. Walking daily can help prevent dementia. Try to plan your walks, even if you currently work from home, take your lunch break and get outside and walk and if the weather doesn’t allow it, try doing a 30-minute step/walk routine in your living room.

5. Don’t overeat. Overeating only adds to decrease muscle function and keeps the body from being alert and active. Try eating adequate amounts of food which can reduce memory loss and cognitive impairment.

6. Listen to classical or instrumental music. Just listening to non-lyrical music can help stimulate brain waves that resonate with music and its melodies. Listening to classical or instrumental music can help relax the mind but still keep it functioning at its optimal level. In other words, it’s relaxing yet stimulating. Some articles have even stated that classical music helps with sleep disorders, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and increase memory.

7. Eat more fruits and veggies. Eat a whole range of colorful fruits and vegetables to help supply your brain with nutrients it needs to function properly. There are many ‘great’ brain foods, some of the best are beans-these regulate blood sugar and energy in the brain, blackberries-these have high amounts of manganese which is essential for the brain, flaxseeds- high in brain-boosting omega-3, and nuts- a healthy dose of fats which are good for the brain and vitamin E.

8. Eat at regular intervals to provide constant fuel and nourishment to the brain. Avoid skipping meals. If you have to miss a meal due to time constraints, make a quick smoothie, or blended juice from fruits and veggies from your veggie drawer.

9. Take a hike! Or at least take a walk out in nature. Just connecting and being out in nature helps to boost brain-supporting oxygen levels. Who doesn’t need more oxygen these days?

10. Grab some fungi. Eat more mushrooms. Researchers at the Yong Lin School of Medicine in Singapore, studied a group of seniors and found that eating mushrooms twice weekly lowered their risk of mild cognitive decline by half! Add mushrooms to your soups, salads, stews, or even curries. There are so many benefits of adding mushrooms to your everyday dishes.

Keep the brain functioning, by practicing a few of these recommendations. Your brain, and your body will thank you. Sometimes when you power up your brain, you power up and stimulate your whole body and that is something to really think about.

Editor’s Note: Sally Head, who is a Stratford Crier correspondent, will be providing regular articles on health and wellness.

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