5 Habits That Change Your Brain

5 Habits That Change Your Brain

Maybe you walk to work everyday or listen to lots of music. Maybe you enjoy a daily cup of coffee or wake up and meditate to stay grounded. Believe it or not, but your unassuming, daily activity could be affecting your brain more than you think.

Once considered unable to be changed by simple outside forces, now science has conceded that certain basic routines could result in several cognitive benefits. So much so that these may affect anything from your cardiovascular health to your projected physical longevity, especially your brain.

These 5 habits that change your brain are a small example of the amazing ability this organ is capable of. See if you’re already helping along your cognitive health or if you may want to implement some ways to increase it.

LTPA

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you but you may not need to belong to a gym to reap its benefits. Leisure-Time Physical Activity (LTPA) seems to be one of the most beneficial choices for strengthening memory recall and overall focus according to several studies, particularly of the elderly population.

LPTA is the daily practice of habits that might include:

  • Walking
  • Bike riding
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Moderate intensity sports, fitness or recreational activities (activities that result in moderate increases in heart rate and breathing)

A study by researchers from New York’s Columbia University and the University of Miami, published in the journal Neurology (2/16) concluded that,

“A low level of LTPA is independently associated with greater decline in cognitive performance over time across domains.”

Another study published in JAMA Internal Medicine (6/15) cited that,

“…moderate- or vigorous-intensity activities was associated with nearly the maximum longevity benefit.”

So get off the couch and get moving to prevent your brain from turning to mush and possibly resulting in dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Dietary Dynamics

Eating a healthy diet may be difficult for some but it could mean the difference between feeding or starving your brain. Processed foods are tasty and convenient but they could be setting you up for all sorts of systemic health challenges, particularly when it comes to your cerebral status.

A UCLA study found that just eating high fructose could significantly impact your brain in a negative way. Gomez-Pinilla, a member of the UCLA Brain Injury Research Center comments,

“Our findings suggest that fructose disrupts plasticity — the creation of fresh pathways between brain cells that occurs when we learn or experience something new,”

Instead of chowing down on soda, donuts and candy switch over to some brain stimulating choices such as turmeric capsules which have been linked to “reduced incidence of Alzheimer’s disease, presumably for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.” (Forbes)

There is also cocoa, blueberries, chia seeds, avocados, coconut and dark green leafy vegetables which are a small example of the many plant based choices that feed essential nutrients to the brain and enhance its function.

Moderate Joe

Coffee has received a roller coaster of good and bad science but in the end it seems that this legume based beverage may be an excellent health choice, in moderation.

Drinking one cup of coffee per day (especially if you choose to drink it black) seems to assist in blocking adenosine receptors which may inhibit focus; reduces the risk of depression; and may help prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Caffeine has been associated with improving vascular health (circulation) as well as repairing cellular damage.

Settling Down

Sitting quietly and allowing your mind to rid itself of the many stresses it holds could enhance your cognitive function.

Meditation in any form is a proven beneficial practice that increases brain volume in the cerebral cortex which controls consciousness while reducing it in the amygdala which steers fear and anxiety. In addition, sitting quietly in any meditative practice inevitably improves focus and concentration.

Shuteye

Okay, maybe this is not a habit but it should be. When you sleep your brain goes through a huge list of functions which includes filing memories and cleansing itself.

In fact, a 2013 University of Rochester study found that,

“Sleep is helping wash away toxic proteins at night, preventing them from building up and from potentially destroying brain cells,”

So get your shuteye to change your brain for the better.

Take note of these 5 habits that change the brain. If you are lacking in any, be sure to improve upon them because the last thing you want to be is the crazy forgetful aunt or uncle bumping into walls at the family reunion.

 



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