Is Your Brain Health Declining?
You can reverse it
By Roni Deluz ND, RN, Ph.D
Let’s talk about brain health. We are collectively facing a future uncertainty in this country. The recent global pandemic launched us all into a world of social distancing, home quarantining, and remote working. Our ability to plan our lives has been removed and replaced with living from one news announcement to the next. Just as we have started to slowly emerge from lockdown, the global focus has been pulled to the Black Lives Matter movement that was sparked with the murder of George Floyd by police. Our news feeds have switched from emotions of coronavirus updates to an outpouring of political dread, protests, and fear. With all this information to take in plus the volume of pivot adjustments required, it is no surprise that many of us are struggling with mental decline.
How do you know when your brain is in distress?
If you have been battling unclear thinking, hard to make decisions, anxiety or irritability, and feelings of impending doom, you are not alone. The stresses of the various current events are having an undeniable toll on our brain well-being. According to one noted Harvard study, stressful events cause the area of our brain that contributes to emotional processing (the amygdala) to send a distress signal to the command center of our brain (the hypothalamus) which then communicates to our nervous system that fight or flight energy is required. When stress levels stay elevated, the mind and body rapidly deplete in energy and clarity capability. So how can we improve our brain well-being during the present challenges and beyond?
Brain nutrition helps with cognitive functioning
Boost your B12 by increasing nutrition. It is estimated that almost half of the American population is B12 deficient. This can implicate increased fatigue, mental fogginess, elevated depression, and compromised memory. Such deficiency in combination with the current global challenges we are experiencing can leave us depleted and struggling to cope. Instead of grabbing sugar craving foods or salty snacks; up your daily dose of B12 by eating rich foods such as oily fish, sardines, tuna, salmon, and eggs. Add nutritional yeast flakes to your meals. Shiitake mushrooms are another good source of B12 for vegetarians.
Embrace the power of Nootropics. These ‘smart drugs’ are growing rapidly in popularity due to their mental performance boosting properties. They are natural supplements to prescription drugs to enhance the function of the brain. Many top athletes, celebrities, and global experts use them to enhance their skill set and their cerebral strengths. Popular versions include natural substances such as caffeine which blocks the ‘sleep receptors’ in your brain to make you feel alert. Caffeine is the most popular natural Nootropic. Bullet proof coffee and mushroom coffee are considered smart coffee. L-theanine is another popular supplement which increases creativity inducing alpha-waves. It also causes increase relaxation. Creatine (an amino acid) is another common supplement in the category of Nootropics. It has an impact on helping with memory, vital to those suffering from stress-related confusion. Talk to your Health Practitioner regarding Nootropics for your specific problem.
Sleep or healthy food: which is better?
Sleep is under-appreciated. You must sleep your way to cognitive clarity. Sleep is vital to our wellbeing. Without enough of it our minds and bodies slowdown in function and efficiency. Your memory increases with a good night’s sleep which is the greatest benefit to most of us. You can metabolize and use your nutrients better if you are a good sleeper. Sleep-deprived people have more obesity according to research which adds more stress to our life. Contemporary fast-paced living culture has contributed to poor sleeping habits for many of us. We have become accustomed to coping with shorter periods of sleep along with compromised sleep such as sleeping with a distracting smartphone nearby or dropping off to the glare of Netflix episodes.
Need simple tips to sleep better? Going to bed a few hours earlier and waking up on a regular schedule will allow your brain to be in sync with your biological clock. Research has proven people sleep better when removing nearby screens, mobile phones, computers, TVs, and other gadgets with electricity. You should also turn off lights. Do not eat stimulating food three hours before bed. Avoid coffee, caffeinated tea, sugar or sweet foods, juices with sugar, simple carbohydrates, and fruits. The best foods to eat for better sleep are foods high in melatonin like almonds, foods high in calcium such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, kale and broccoli. Sleep hygiene can change the way your brain works, literally overnight!
Eat well, sleep well, check in on loved ones, reach out and touch someone’s heart and take a break from constant news negativity. This is a time for resetting. Consider this time your opportunity to rebuild a stronger, healthier future for yourself going forwards. For more information email: [email protected]