7 Tips to Reset Your Brain - Part 2
We are back for Part 2 of 7 Tips to Reset Your Brain!
Tip #5 - Exercise for a Bigger Brain
- Real Talk -- brain health decreases with age, and it is estimated that 5% brain shrinkage occurs every decade of life after age 40. Interestingly, studies in mice (and humans!) have demonstrated that exercise reverses this process in the hippocampus.
- What is the hippocampus?
- It is a portion of your brain that is involved in memory, especially long-term memory. It is also involved in spatial navigation. It is one of the first portions of the brain affected by Alzheimer’s disease
- Thankfully, exercise has been shown to be beneficial for both mice AND human brains.
The SCIENCE –
- Healthy adults and those with mild cognitive impairment participated in 2-5 aerobic exercise sessions per week. Researchers hypothesized that aerobic exercise did not actually increase the size of the hippocampus, but rather it decreased the amount of deterioration that is normally seen in non-exercising adults.
The bottom-line – move your body for at least 120 minutes weekly.
- Go for a hike in nature
- Join a Zumba class
- Go skating
- Dance in the living room with your kids
- Try an Aquafit class
Tip #6 - Toss the Trans Fats
- Good news- Canada banned artificial trans fats in September 2018 (yay!). Unfortunately, even with the ban in place, artificial trans fats won’t be completely gone; they’ll still be in already produced foods on store shelves. Health Canada estimates that within 3 years, there will not be any kind of trans fat products on the shelves.
- Trans fat oils are used in the production of pastries, certain margarines, crackers, popcorn, cookies, deep fried foods, and some packaged products in order to extend shelf life.
What are Trans Fats?
- Artificial trans fat is made when hydrogen is added to a liquid vegetable oil, making it solid. This increases the shelf life and flavour of pre-packaged foods.
- In Denmark, a ban of trans fats in the year 2004 led to a reduction of 14.2 deaths per 100,000 people. This effect was seen 3 years after implementation, and was mainly due to reduction in heart attack and stroke.
Can Trans Fats Affect Your Thinker?
- Yes Yes - studies have shown that when you increase the amount of trans fats consumed, you are more likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease. Our bodies don’t know what to do with trans fats, so inflammation ensues, cholesterol increases, and risk of diabetes rises.
- What can you do? Read your food labels! Check that frozen pizza, microwavable popcorn, crackers etc. Be label-literate!
- Remember – your brain is 60% fat. Trans fats have zero place in the human diet. Toss foods that are not serving you. Ain’t no body got time for that.
Tip #7 - Up Your Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Our consumption of saturated and trans fats (think fats that are solid at room temperature) have increased, while at the same time our consumption of omega-3 fatty acids (think liquid at room temperature) has declined.
- The dietary hole left by omega-3’s has been replaced by omega-6 rich corn, safflower, sunflower, and soybean oil. Genetically, we should be eating a diet that is 1:1 omega-6 to omega-3’s. However, we are now eating diets that are more like 20 parts omega-6 to 1 part omega-3.
- When our diet is heavy in omega-6’s, and light in omega-3’s, inflammation and oxidative stress is revved up (both of which are contribute to brain disorders).
Fish and omega-3 fatty acid supplements have been show to…
- Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease and also slow early stages of progression
- Slow the progression of Parkinson’s Disease
- Have a beneficial effect on cognitive function
- Be beneficial in the treatment of mild-moderate depression
I hope this 2-part blog on brain health has been helpful! In my practice, I’m all about small, manageable changes that make significant impacts.
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not meant to replace a consultation with a licensed health care provider.