Did you know that your brain changes every day, month, and year that you age? In fact, it exhibits both natural negative declines and positive gains concurrently. In addition, are you aware that your lifestyle, and specifically the nutrients you consume, have an impact on both these gains and declines?
There are many things you ask of your brain on a day to day basis.
First, you ask it to do all the daily tasks of thinking and sending signals to every other part of your body. You also ask it to exhibit extreme focus at times. What’s more, you want steady, stable moods. You ask all of this within an environment of inflammation and toxicity.
How can it handle all of this?
You must take care of it. Here are our 11 tips for your best brain health this New Year!
Specific nutrients can support your brain’s performance, focus, health, and longevity. In fact, these nutrients do so directly (working directly on neurotransmitters, etc.) and indirectly (reducing inflammation throughout the body and in the brain.
Fortunately, there’s a new line of nutrient-packed supplements that encourage your best brain health, in a convenient daily dose. They include:
Dr. Colbert’s Brain Zone Basic: This supplement boasts a nutrient complex that specifically supports brain health by supporting your brain’s natural aging strengths while attenuating cognitive declines. In fact, every Brain Zone Basic capsule includes B-vitamins, anti-inflammatory compounds, and healthy fats that encourage optimal brain health throughout your life. Specifically, Brain Zone Basic combines 4 brain-supporting B-vitamins, anti-inflammatory curcumin, and brain-supporting phospholipids (1, 2).
Dr. Colbert’s Brain Zone Focus: If you’re looking for a more youthful, sharp, focused brain experience, take a look at Brain Zone Focus. This supplement combines powerful amino acids, vitamins, and compounds that encourage brain health, clarity, healing, motivation, and focus. In fact, it contains amino acids that have been found to support mitochondria health, memory, brain energy, detoxification, stress-reductions, and more (3, 4).
Brain Zone Advanced: Brain Zone Advanced is a wonderful supplement that encourages brain health, reduced stress, and neuroprotection. It combines naturally occurring compounds like citicoline, adaptogens, flavonoids, phytochemicals, and more. It can take your experience of feeling tired and anxious, and promote increased neurotransmitter activity, neuroprotection, stable healthy moods, and optimal cognitive performance, even under stress (5, 6, 7)!
Chronic inflammation is one of our brain’s biggest enemies. What fuels that enemy?
Modern, processed foods. Most of the packaged foods in our supermarkets are full of ingredients that promote inflammation in our bodies. These ingredients are cheap fats like soybean oil that compete with anti-inflammatory fats and hormones in the body. Some of the worst offenders include:
Many experts who have studied our current intake of inflammatory fats vs. anti-inflammatory ones are convinced that this dietary promotion of inflammation is a central cause to most of our chronic diseases. These diseases include degenerative brain disease. During the last decade, a new cause of Alzheimer’s has been identified: sustained immune reactions in the brain caused by chronic inflammation (8).
On the flip side, make sure to add omega-3 fats to your diet via foods and supplements. One of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods is omega-3 fats from seafood, and to a lesser extent, plant foods. Studies show that inflammation biomarkers improve as the relationship of omega-3s to omega-6s improves (9).
To truly make a difference, it takes two steps: reducing inflammatory foods while increasing anti-inflammatory ones.
Your brain is affected by your long-term and short-term hydration status.
In fact, mood, fatigue, and alertness are all impaired with dehydration (10).
Hydration also affects your digestive tract, skin, kidney function, and more (all tissues depend on it).
What should you drink?
How Much? I recommend a minimum of 48-64 oz. fluid per day for most women, and 64-80 oz. per day for most men. But, many people feel great drinking more. Also, add more hydration if you exercise. Try to get in all fluids before 7 pm or so, so that it doesn’t disrupt your sleep.
Lastly, make sure to brush your teeth after drinking coffee and tea to avoid staining.
When you take the sugars and most carbs out of your diet, your brain will begin to burn ketones instead of carbs as fuel.
Astonishingly, this change in brain fuel has been used successfully for decades to help children with epilepsy vastly reduce seizures (without medications) (12).
Now, there is promising research on ketosis and brain improvements for degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease (13).
What’s more, many people in ketosis report greater brain clarity, focus, and function than before. You can take full advantage and support your brain and whole body health with Dr. Colbert’s Beyond Keto!
Many people fast for spiritual reasons, and this is great. But fasting also has benefits that manifest physically and mentally. In fact, there are numerous scientific studies that show its anti-aging benefits.
Fasting can increase insulin sensitivity, promote weight loss, decrease inflammation, increase mental clarity, normalize levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, and even regenerate the immune system. All of this is good for the body and brain.
To add an easy intermittent fasting schedule, either choose to fast one 24-hour period per week, or try fasting 15-16 hours per day, from 7 pm to 10 am. You can drink water, tea, and coffee during the fast.
You don’t have to run a marathon.
But, there are many benefits to staying active, flexible and being outside!
Here’s how each helps:
Brains age and become impaired with increased oxidative stress. And, while this has been long-accepted with the development of degenerative diseases, now researchers believe oxidative stress may play a role with anxiety, depression, and more (14).
Oxidative stress is the accumulation and damage caused by free radicals. Free radicals are created by many biochemical reactions in our bodies. They occur from daily living, processed foods, alcohol, nicotine, and more.
They are “quenched,” or neutralized by antioxidants made by our cells (such as glutathione) and from foods. Foods and drinks that are high in antioxidants include bright and deeply colored vegetables, spices, raw cacao, green tea, nuts, seeds, and more.
These anti-agers work at the cellular level. Their antioxidants are so potent at the cellular level they go beyond the normal reduction in oxidative stress to promote longevity and health in the body. What’s more, ginger and turmeric are also strong anti-inflammatory foods that reduce joint and muscle pain (15).
There’s little doubt that chronic mental stress is a brain ager.
In fact, according to a 2018 study, researchers found that increased blood cortisol levels are correlated with impaired memory and lower brain volume in mid-life (16). What’s more, after studying 2231 human participants, they found the effects were more pronounced in women participants than men.
To reduce cortisol and support your best brain health:
Your brain was made to do challenging work. From the time we are born, our brain reacts and grows due to new challenges.
Don’t stop now. You can use mental challenges or new activities to keep your brain sharp and young. Try puzzles, photography, dance lessons, yoga, memorization, reading and more.
Never stop learning!
Pray and practice gratitude. At the end of each day, take time to practice gratitude and pray. Put down the screens and write three to five specific things for which you are grateful.
Believe it or not, studies show lower cortisol circulation immediately when subjects focus on things for which they are grateful.
Immediately. This is your secret weapon against daily stress and brain degeneration.
And, it’s completely free.
When you pray, you improve mental health and build your relationship with God. Pray with thanksgiving, releasing things you cannot control and the stressors you face.
For a sharp, young brain, aim to consistently get at least 7-8 hours of good sleep per night. It’s truly one of the most potent brain healers and anti-agers.
In fact, lack of sleep is associated with increased anxiety, slow brain performance, increased blood sugars, hormone disturbances, and more. These all lead to expedited and unhealthy aging.
To age well, you don’t need just any sleep…you need “good” sleep.
So, if you suffer from snoring, sleep apnea, or anything else that disturbs sleep, it’s worthwhile to speak with your doctor and explore treatments.
We all ask a lot from our brains. All of our brains face a tough environment, aging, and natural decline every day that we age. But, we can use our dietary and lifestyle habits to support brain health, while protecting it. Take the challenge and make 2023 the best year yet for your brain health!