Today, you will make choices that affect your brain health. You can choose to establish good habits for brain health, or ones that degrade it.
What are the habits? Which will you choose?
We have a list of ten: 5 Best and 5 Worst Habits for Brain Health.
How are you going to treat your brain today?
When you enter the Keto Zone® and take the sugars and most carbs out of your diet, your brain will begin to burn ketones instead of carbs as fuel.
Astonishingly, ketones have been used to support healthy neurological function for decades. In fact, a ketogenic diet is one key recommendations used to help children with epilepsy vastly reduce seizures (without medications) (1).
Now, there is promising research on ketosis and degenerative brain conditions (2).
What’s more, many people in ketosis report greater brain clarity, focus, and function than before.
Adding omega-3 fats is a crucial step in reducing inflammation and maintaining healthy brain function. To truly make a difference, it takes two steps: reducing inflammatory foods while increasing anti-inflammatory ones.
One of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods is omega-3 fats from seafood, and to a lesser extent, plant foods. Add fatty fish as much as possible plus hempseeds, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and nuts daily.
Then, vastly reduced processed foods. Focus specifically on removing all soybean oil from you diet which is a very common ingredient commercial foods (see more about this below).
Studies show that inflammation biomarkers improve as the relationship of omega-3s to omega-6s improves (3).
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 a host of brain issues and low moods (4).
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 antioxidant include bright and deeply colored vegetables, spices, raw cacao, green tea, nuts, seeds, and more.
These brain-helpers 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 (5).
Your brain is affected by your long-term and short-term hydration status.
In fact, mood, fatigue, and alertness are all impaired with dehydration (5).
Hydration also affects your digestive tract, skin, kidney function, and more (all tissues depend on it).
What should you drink?
How Much? Aim for 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 on 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.
On the other hand, avoid over-consuming alcohol for your best brain health!
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 benefits. It can increase insulin sensitivity, promote a healthy weight, decrease inflammation, increase mental clarity, normalize levels of the “hunger hormone” ghrelin, support brain function and mitochondria health and even regenerate the immune system (12). 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.
If you sit indoors all of your day, or even the majority of your day, it’s time to make some changes for the sake of your brain.
You don’t have to run a marathon. But, there are many benefits to getting outside, sitting less, and improving flexibility!
Here’s how each helps:
Chronic inflammation is one of our brains’ biggest enemies.
And, the fuel 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 ailments.
These conditions include degenerative brain issues. During the last decade, a new cause of neurodegeneration has been identified: sustained immune reactions in the brain caused by chronic inflammation (7).
To reduce the risk of this disease and the deterioration of our brains, we must reduce inflammation.
There’s little doubt that chronic, mental stress is unhealthy for your brain.
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 (8). What’s more, after studying 2231 human participants, they found the effects were more pronounced in women participants than men.
Much of our modern-day stress is caused by our over-scheduled busy bee lives.
But, there’s good news. You can take steps to reduce some stress and choose a slower life. Try to:
For a sharp, youthful, healthy 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.
In fact, lack of sleep is associated with increased anxiety, slow brain performance, increased blood sugars, hormone disturbances, metabolic issues, memory impairment, knowledge retention, and more (9, 10, 11).
If you suffer from snoring, sleep apnea, or anything else that disturbs sleep, it’s worthwhile to speak with your doctor and explore treatments.
If you want a healthy brain, you cannot ignore gut health. In fact, your digestive health has direct implications for your brain health. Amazingly, it’s now known that (13):
Healthy digestion is first responsible for nourishing your body, from your hair to your toes. Beyond the nourishment, there is an incredible gut-brain connection that impacts your brain health directly.
Our habits matter. Each day, you can choose to support your brain health, or you can choose to tear it down. This is actually very encouraging, because the choice for your daily habits is yours. Decide which make most sense for you. Then, start to form great habits for your great brain health today!