Brain Byte: Beware of Brain Shrinkers

colorful brain clipart

You have many things on your mind like paying the bills, yard work, kids, pets, the “To Do” list.  So I ask is your mind on your mind?  How often do you consciously tend to your brain’s health?  Have you ever experienced brain freeze?  That awkward moment when you cannot think of your friend’s name as you pass in the grocery or all of the sudden the PIN you have used a thousand times, just will not come to mind!

The brain is a living, breathing organ.  In fact, it utilizes a large portion of the body’s oxygen intake, about twenty percent.  Your brain’s thinking process involves brain cells sending and receiving information.  The Axon sends information and the Dendrites receive information.  When you do not take care of yourself properly you can actually kill off brain cells.  The following should be avoided to optimize your brain’s health.

Brain Shrinkers

  • Binge drinking
  • Cigarettes
  • Prolonged State of Fear/Sustained stress
  • Lack of water
  • Mental Laziness: getting stuck in a rut, never trying anything new and doing everything the same way. The brain is in constant cleanup mode and allows unused neurons to die and prunes underutilized dendrites, just as a gardener prunes dying branches on a tree.
  • BMI (Body Mass Index) over 25.  That’s because extra fat generates more chemicals that can be toxic to your brain, says Deborah Gustafson, Ph.D., the lead study author and assistant professor at the Institute of Clinical Neuroscience in Sweden. One class of these chemicals — called free radicals — latches on to cells, disrupts the way they function, and can kill them. Aging naturally works away at your memory, but excess fat may speed up the process. For each point your BMI increases, your risk increases 12 to 16 percent. “If you decrease your body weight, you’re going to slow potential atrophy,” says Dr. Gustafson, who recommends a BMI below 25.
  • Lack of exercise – even as little as 30 minutes, 3 times a week is beneficial.
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