January 2012 – Maintaining a Healthy Brain

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In this newsletter, we will be exploring why your brain may not be working at its optimum and what you can do to encourage a healthy brain.  After all of the holiday overeating, it is important to monitor your diet.  A diet that is healthy for the heart is also healthy for the brain.  Exercise will increase the amount of oxygen in the brain.

Maintaining a Healthy Brain
 What You Can Do to Be Proactive?

1. Follow a Mediterranean diet

a.     Fish & chicken each week. Meat once or twice per month.

b.     Fruits & vegetables – locally  grown preferred.

c.     Whole grains

d.     Beans, Nuts & Legumes

e.     Use Olive Oil when cooking

f.      Wine in moderation; lots of  water

g.     Herbs and spices to flavor  minimize salt.

2.  No Trans Fats…Use olive oil, coconut oil and canola oils when cooking.  No cookies, cakes, processed foods.

3.  Mentally Stimulating Activities

a.  crossword puzzles

b.  scrabble or bananagram

c.  soduku

d.  learn new skills/languages

4.  Physical Exercise – low impact


5.  
B Vitamin complex

6.  Omega-3 fatty acid supplement

7.  Eat foods high in antioxidants like blueberries, cherries & fruits high in Vitamin C & E.

8.  Eat whole foods not processed foods

9.  Reduce sugar intake. once a week; substitute fruits & honey.

10.  Keep weight within normal limits but do not get too thin.  There will not be a reserve if you have a health event.

Why Your Brain May Not Be Functioning Properly
 


Do you feel mentally fuzzy sometimes?
Populations around the globe are aging.  Now more than ever, it is important to ensure that your brain will be up to the challenge when it begins to age.  Some cultures seem to be aging better than others.  This article will explore those cultures and how their habits may differ from our culture.

There may be times when you feel mental confusion or fuzziness.  Many factors affect the brain’s function.  Since the brain utilizes up to 25% of the oxygen in the body, it must be pumped from the heart.  If you don’t exercise regularly and spend a lot of time sitting in a chair, you will experience mental dullness.  If you have sleep apnea or snore a lot, you are depriving your brain of oxygen.  You may want to be tested to make sure this is not your problem.

Other reasons why you may experience lack of mental clarity may include lack of sleep or oversleeping.  Poor diet can contribute by not nourishing your brain cells with the energy they need to function.  Medications and/or over the counter drugs can contribute to mental fuzziness as can allergies.  Depression causes lack of mental clarity.

Urinary tract infections can make it appear as if you have dementia but once it is cleared, you will be back to being your old self.  Research is finding that a B vitamin deficiency will affect mental functions.  Those who had normal levels of vitamins C, E and B scored higher on tests.  As the body ages, B vitamins do not replenish themselves so they must be supplemented to ensure your body is being adequately nourished.

Another reason your brain may not function properly is sugar level sensitivity.  If you have hypoglycemia, sugar levels may drop suddenly and your ability to remember or calculate will be affected.  Drinking alcohol can have the same effect temporarily.

Practice relaxing through meditation or breathing exercises.  This will activate the parasympathetic nervous system which tells your body to relax.  Breathe in to the count of 6; then breathe out to the count of 6.  Think of something that brings a smile to your face.  Practice breathing this way for 25 times.  You will find that you feel relaxed and sleep very deeply.  It also helps to release negative emotions because you reach a place of calm where you can think more clearly. Therefore, your thoughts are more organized and dependable so you can make better decisions.

Lastly, lack of mental stimulation and social interactions will contribute to a dull mind.  Do something to have fun and invite others to join you.  Sponsor a game night and use games that are social and stimulate your brain.  Re-learn how to relax. And, most of all, laugh.  This releases endorphins which puts you in a good mood and more healing mode.

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