Know Brain, Know Gain

By: KIMBERLY RUDD

Edited by: CHRISTINA COLAVECCHIA

Most people always think of staying healthy as eating healthy and exercising for a fit body. But what about the most important thing in your body that keeps you alive – your brain! Your brain plays a vital role in everything you do. Without a healthy brain, you wouldn’t have a healthy body. People overlook that you need to maintain a healthy brain as you age, and having a healthy brain can decrease the likelihood of developing a disease like Alzheimer’s.

There are various foods that can create a nourishing diet for the brain. Dr. Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist, says, “The brain is made of 60 percent fat. Consuming good, fatty foods like fish are good for the brain.” Protective foods that contain antioxidants also help the brain. Antioxidants are chemicals that protect our body’s cells, including the brain cells. These antioxidants can be found in kale, spinach, Brussels sprouts, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

Staying physically active helps the blood flow to the brain and helps with brain cell function. According to Alzheimers.org, exercise helps avoid certain risk factors of Alzheimer’s and dementia. These risk factors include heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes, which can all be prevented by physical exercise. Aerobic exercise helps improve oxygen consumption that helps improve brain function and stops brain cell loss. Aerobic exercise is “cardio” exercise; some examples include swimming, walking, running, and cycling.

Staying socially active has also been shown to help the brain. Staying social in the workplace, clubs, and social groups helps sustain brain strength. Challenging your brain is very beneficial and learning new things will help shape your brain and make the connections stronger. Doing puzzles and math exercises on a daily basis are ways to challenge your brain. Traveling is also a way to learn new things that will help the brain function.

So, what is Alzheimer’s? Alzheimer’s is a disease that is a form of dementia that causes memory loss and change in behavior. Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. It is a progressive disorder that gets worse over time. Making sure you have a healthy brain by dieting, exercising, and remaining socially and mentally active are ways to prevent Alzheimer’s. Dr. Nussbaum explains, “The more dendrites [part of the nerve cells in your brain that receive signals] you build, the more it looks like a jungle. Alzheimer’s is like a weed whacker. So the bigger the jungle the harder it is for the weed whacker. This makes your brain more resilient.”

Consider all these better habits because it results in better brain health. In order to achieve a healthy brain, it is important to understand the basics of your brain and learn the different parts of it. You brain is very complex and controls everything you do, like thinking, remembering, and feeling. While keeping your body healthy, also keep in mind your brain.

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