Nurturing Neuroplasticity: How to keep your brain happy and healthy
Recently you may have heard the term neuroplasticity. Though it is a mouthful, we believe it is an important concept to understand. Your brain health is vital to our overall well-being and nurturing neuroplasticity is one of the most effective ways to keep your brain happy and healthy.
WHAT IS IT?
Neuroplasticity is a combination of two different words: neuron (a nerve cell) and plastic (moldable). Simply stated, it is “the brain’s ability to change its performance status across the lifespan” (Apex, 2017). This means that your brain can change the better, forming new brain cells and neural connections and improving its capabilities — throughout your ENTIRE life.
WHY DOES IT MATTER?
Believe it or not, the brain is one of the most fragile organs in our bodies and it can become imbalanced rather easily. Everything from a poor diet to stress and even the environment can aggravate brain tissue. Your brain can even react to allergens and toxins the same way your body can; by working less efficiently.
Here are some simple, and positive, interventions you can start making today for a healthier tomorrow.
EXERCISE: 2-3 times a week for an hour at a time
• Supports cerebrovascular fitness
• Strengths proteins involved in neurotransmitter release
• Improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety
• Cognitive behavior therapy
• Adaptogenic herbs
•Reduce sugar, gluten, heavy carbs, man-made fats, processed food
• Increase intake of nutrient rich, whole organic plant foods
• Select healthy fats (coconut oil, nuts, olive oil)
• Fermented foods
At Internal Wisdom, we are also big fans of nutraceuticals.
What are nutraceuticals you ask?
A nutraceutical is a food containing health-giving additives while having a medicinal effect on the human body. While we know that eating healthy is great for our physically, it is as equally as beneficial to the health of our brain. Certain dietary ingredients can alter the processes in the brain in a POSITIVE way. Here are some common challenges as well as recommendations for
Blood Flow: Optimizing circulation throughout the brain ensures that blood, glucose and oxygen levels are optimal. We recommend increasing nutrients such as Butcher’s Broom and Ginkgo Biloba as each of these help blood flow in the brain.
DHA: This fatty acid is an important component in brain tissue foundation. Increasing your intake of DHA can support healthy cell membranes and brain functioning.
Inflammation levels: Like other parts of our body, the brain can experience inflammation from overwork and stress. When this happens, the Microglial cells in our brains flare up like a pulled muscle and get inflamed. When this happens and activity is heightened, this can produce symptoms like brain fog, slower reflexes and low brain endurance. Taking flavonoids and curcumin offer support.
Pathway degeneration: Symptoms of pathway degeneration includes photographic memory loss, sense of direction and even poor verbal memory. Adding nutrients such as Acetyl-L carnitine, alpha-GPC and pantothenic acid can all assist in maintaining pathway integrity. Th These pathways are a key part to maintaining brain health.
Gut-Brain Axis Disruption: We know there is a strong relationship between the brain and the gut. Recent evidence suggests that the vagus nerve may serve as a direct conduit for intestinal material to pass to the brain. Because of this, adding specific nutritional supports These include probiotics, flavonoids, L-glutamine as well as herbs such as licorice leaf and aloe.
It is never too early to start caring for the brain. Really, the earlier you can start caring for the brain, the better your brain will age over time. By laying the foundation for a healthy brain environment, you give yourself the best opportunity to maintain positive brain health throughout life.
For more in depth information, please schedule a consultation with Rachael at (916) 817-4407