A Healthy Brain Requires a Proper Diet and Physical and Mental Exercise

Brain health is a critical piece of our overall health. Our amazing (and still mysterious) brain underlies our ability to communicate, make decisions, problem-solve and live a productive and useful life. The World Brain Day is observed since a decade ago by The World Federation of Neurology (WFN), the annual observance to close the gaps in disability awareness and reduce health care barriers that exist for individuals with neurological disabilities. The official theme for the 10th annual World Brain Day had been “Brain Health and Disability,” chosen to help inspire global initiatives to close the gaps in disability awareness and reduce health care barriers that exist for individuals with neurological disabilities.

Taking care of our brains is as straightforward as taking care of our bodies. Among everything at our disposal, regular exercise has been shown to slow age-related brain deterioration and maintain cognitive abilities that typically decrease with age. Exercise also helps lower blood pressure, avoid vascular disease leading to stroke and helps maintain a healthy supply of blood pumping to the brain. A good night’s rest plays an important role in our brain health. Yes, you can actually sleep your way to better cognition! Sleep keeps you sharp, focused and able to make thoughtful decisions. While different age groups require different amounts of sleep, the general recommendation is around six to seven hours a night. Those with sleep disturbances should ask their doctor about medical intervention.
Our surroundings can also influence brain health. Environmental toxins in water, food and the air can all lead to neurological issues such as stroke, neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders. Another environmental risk involves repetitive or major head trauma caused by accidents or while participating in extreme sports. A balanced, nutritional diet is not only good for our body but our brains as well. Research shows that the best brain foods are the same ones that protect your heart and blood vessels, including green, leafy vegetables, fatty fish, berries, tea and coffee and nuts such as walnuts. And try to stay away from over-processed foods and saturated fat.
The brain is an incredibly vascular organ. A rich supply of arteries and veins help with the delivery of nutrients, as well as the removal of toxins and by-products of metabolism, in order to keep it healthy. When that blood flow is interrupted, it affects brain function and that results in changes in the way information travels along the brain’s pathways. This can impact how we move, how we sense things like hearing or touch, the way we think about the world and people around us, how we perceive a situation, and how we behave. All of the things that the brain is responsible for — physical and mental — are part of brain health. While often spoken about separately, mental health is a central part of brain health and they are not separate or distinct.

Understanding this can help to reduce the stigma that is often associated with mental illness, which, like any physical disorder or disease, is a health problem and requires appropriate treatment. Consider this: The three major brain conditions of our lifetime — stroke, dementia and depression — are all interrelated and all happening in the same organ. If a person has been diagnosed with one of those three conditions, their risk of the other two increases. Because access to care is so important, medical systems such as MMHS play a significant role in overall brain health. Identifying issues early and referring patients to neurologists and other appropriate brain specialists is key. Raising awareness about brain health and disability will help ensure that people with neurological disabilities receive the care and rehabilitation they need to reach their full potential.

Written by:

Rena Salamacha
Mee Memorial Healthcare System

Source: King City Rustler