(so you feel better and have more fun in life)

We don’t often think of our brain as something we need to keep healthy. Even though we know that certain foods and exercises are good for our heart, bones and muscles, our brain health is one area that we may take for granted.  Some people assume that there is nothing we can do in terms of food, exercise or anything else, that can help our brain stay healthy, happy and  sharp. But science has found that there are certain foods, supplements and certain exercises that will help our brain stay healthier.

Here are a few things we’ve learned so you can improve your brain health.

Important brain chemicals called neurotrophins help your brain grow new neurons and make new neuron connections.  Brain cells called neurons are where the work of learning new things and making memories happen. The neurotrophins also help repair your peripheral nerves and keep your existing brain cells from dying. As you can see, making sure you have plenty of these important brain chemicals on hand keeps your brain healthy. So how do you maintain healthy levels of these very important neurotrophins?

  1. Intense exercise:

The greater the intensity of your exercise, the more neurotrophins you make. It has been suggested that the more frequently you engage in high intensity exercise, the greater the production. What exercises are high intensity?…could be running, climbing, dancing , biking, anything that makes you huff and puff and breathe hard.

High intensity exercise one day a week may help but to reap even more benefits you have to exercise consistently. High intensity exercise helps you grow new brain cells.  And it releases those feel good brain chemicals called endorphins.  The high intensity aerobic exercise should be within 60% to 75% of your maximum heart rate for about 30 minutes. It may take up to a few months of regular exercise before you notice a change.

  1. Intermittent fasting or Caloric restriction:

This can not only boost brain growth neurotrophins but also improve cardiovascular function and blood glucose levels as well as brain health.

One way to do intermittent fasting is to not eat for 12 hours at a time. You can do this by eating supper by 6 pm and then not eating breakfast until after 6 am. Then eat lightly throughout the day instead of having large meals. Again you must do this consistently for a number of months before you may notice a difference.

  1. Dietary modifications:

Eating a diet that avoids refined sugars and saturated fats helps. People on a high fat, high sugar diet show noticeable reductions in brain functions. So for a healthier brain reduce your sugar and saturated fat in your diet.

  1. Vitamins and supplements can help:

  • Vitamin D either from sunshine or as a supplement is needed to make neurotrophins.
  • Curcumin can help neurotrophin production, especially among those with brain injuries.
  • Green tea increases neurotrophins. It may be especially helpful for people with neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are most abundant in fatty fish. If you are not eating “fishy” fish at least a couple times a week, taking a supplement would be a good idea. Omega-3 fatty acids are important for people recovering from a brain injury.
  • Resveratrol has been studied for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases and aging.
  1. Lose weight:

There are several studies that link obesity to lower levels of neurotrophins.

6. Stay social:

If you want your children to maintain high levels of neurotrophins for a healthy brain, make sure they are socially engaged from a young age. Early experiences in childhood result in lasting neural and behavioral changes. We know that an enriched environment is good for human brains.

You can learn much more on this subject here: http:/mentalhealthdaily.com/2015/03/30/8-ways-to-increase-bdnf-levels-brain-derived-neurotrophic-factor/

  1. Regular chiropractic adjustments:

Chiropractic adjustments remove irritation and interference to the optimal working of your nervous system. Making sure your brain can get all its signals from your body and that your body can get all its signals from your brain means all of you stays healthier. Spinal health goes a long way to improving the health of your whole body and brain.