We/re always focused on the body, what about the brain?! Here’s five easy ways to help take care of your brain.
GETTING PLENTY OF SLEEP- the same way our lymphatic system flushes out toxins and waste from the body, the brain has the glymphatic system. This works by pumping cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) through the brain, which in turn clears out waste and toxins. The glymphatic system is most active during sleep, which is why getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining brain health, ideally eight hours actually sleep.
EAT DARK FOODS- dark foods are basically purple foods like elderberries, blueberries, blackberries, purple sprouted brocoli, cavalo nero kale, coffee. Dark foods are high in polyphenals, a strong antioxidant, that encourage the growth of baby neuro cells. There has also been research that consuming foods high in polyphenals can reduce the risk of several diseases including Alzheimer’s disease.
DRINK WATER- we all know this one, but the brain needs to be hydrated to be able to focus. Even being just 1-3% dehydrated can affect your focus. When you are learning something new or studying, its important to drink plenty of water or you can end up having a headache, as our brain needs that extra when focusing. If you’re feeling thirsty, you are already dehydrated! Get into the habit of drinking a little and often, because if you drink a lot in one go, its a bit like watering a dried out plant, it will go straight through you.
INTERMITTENT FASTING- you’ve probably heard about lots of benefits of introducing intermittent fasting into your life but I bet you didn’t know it was good for your brain too! Intermittent fasting turns on an important process called autophagy, a self cleaning process that helps detoxify the brain, by clearing out old and damaged cells, and any debris that builds up throughout the day. Restricting the hours you eat can also improve memory according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It can improve moods and decrease tension, anger and confusion (research in the Journal of Nutrition Health & Aging), and help reduce inflammation. Chronic inflammation has been linked to many brain disorders, including depression, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease.
- FOOD CHOICES- there is always so much focus on what to eat for the body, (build muscle, lose weight, gain weight) but we rarely think about what the brain needs. When you are sleeping, the brain uses up to 20% of what you ate in the day, and 25% of what you eat in the day is used by the brain. The five a day has been replaced by the thirty a week! But this is not just fruit, vegetables and legumes, it includes wholegrains like brown rice, oats, nuts and seeds, herbs and spcies, even tea and coffee counts! So instead of snacking on a biscuit, think of your brain and have a handful of walnuts instead.
Image from www.nutritionscotland.org