Proper nutrition can keep your brain healthy and reduce the risk of developing neurological problems later in life. Not all, but certain foods can help maintain or improve the health of your brain. Because they contain omega-3, blueberries can reduce inflammation and reduce the risk of brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases.
Antioxidants are important for brain health because the brain is prone to oxidative stress that can contribute to age-related cognitive decline and brain disease. Some, such as the Mediterranean diet, Mind-Diet and DASH-Diet, contribute to weight loss and lead to improved cardiovascular health, better insulin levels and less inflammation – all of which can work in your brain.
You can reduce your risk by eating a healthy diet, not smoking and exercising regularly. High blood sugar is a side effect of a refined carbohydrate diet such as sugar, which can affect brain health. Research shows that high blood sugar levels due to diabetes increase the risk of many health problems, including Alzheimer's and other dementias.
Continuous sleep gives your brain time to consolidate and store your memories. Sleep apnea can therefore be harmful to the health of your brain, especially if you struggle to get consecutive hours of sleep.
Sleep is one of the most important things we can do to keep our brains healthy and to ward off age-related brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and dementia. Unfortunately, science has not yet discovered the extent to which your brain needs sleep. Multitasking, stimulation and too much screen time can adversely affect the way your brain works at the expense of physical activity.
When you deprive your brain of healthy sleep, your brain processes information, consolidates memories, makes connections, clears toxins and suffers. Lack of sleep means that these mechanisms are not activated and do not cleanse your brain of harmful substances. In addition, prolonged sleep deprivation can damage memory and have long-term effects on the brain.
According to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, the Western diet is high in sugar and fat which can lead to cognitive decline. The nutrient composition of processed food in this diet can influence the brain and contribute to the development of degenerative diseases. According to another study in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease Treatment, deprivation of nutrients in the brain can have harmful effects.
If you want your brain to work at full throttle, it's time to steer clear of sodium-rich foods. A study published in Nutrients has found that eating high-fat foods causes fatigue and makes the brain feel less sharp. The same neuroscientific studies that proved that sugar causes cognitive decline also showed that a high-fat diet produces the same brain-altering results and confuses long-term and short-term memory.
Research has shown that high salt intake increases risk of high blood pressure which can in turn lead to lesser cognitive deficits and an increased risk of stroke. According to a 2014 study published by Neurology, high blood pressure restricts blood flow to the brain, which can affect concentration, organizational skills and memory. Lack of exercise, poor diet, taking certain medications and more can put brain health at risk.
Researchers found in one study that middle-aged and elderly people who consumed diet soda daily were three times more likely to experience a stroke or dementia over a 10-year period than those who did not drink diet soda.
In another study, the same researchers found that people who drank diet soda had lower brain volume than those who had never drank diet drinks. Three studies in 2013 found evidence that taking a daily multivitamin can prevent or slow down the risk of chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease and delay the progression of cognitive decline.
Although further human studies are needed, these results suggest that a high intake of fructose from sugary beverages may have additional negative effects on the brain beyond the sugar effects. High amounts of sugary beverages not only widen waist line and increase the risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, but can also have adverse effects on the brain.
Foods containing trans fats are a type of unsaturated fat that can affect brain health. Studies have shown that people who consume high amounts of trans fats tend to have an increased risk of Alzheimer's disease, poor memory, low brain volume and cognitive decline. Processed foods are another type of food that can lead to weight gain and also have a negative effect on brain health.
The good news is that there are many things that can help your brain's health, such as exercise, meditation and stress reduction. A new UCLA study reports that people who are sedentary exhibit a thinning of the brain regions associated with memory. Research has also linked chronic stress, which can reduce memory and learning in both adults and children, to an increased risk of dementia in the brain caused by structural changes.
Physical activity keeps your body in shape and stimulating activities can help keep your brain in shape and help combat memory loss at bay. Regular physical activity promotes memory and learning.
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