Key #1: Optimize Nutrition
Optimal nutrition is the most important factor in keeping your brain healthy. Feeding our brains is not something most of us know how to do. What you put in your mouth provides all the raw materials for building the structure of your brain cells and keeping all the communications systems running well so you can think, emote, learn, and remember. You have to start with the right food and enough of the right nutrients for the brain to function well.
The problem is that most of us (including doctors) know very little about nutrition and even less about how and why vitamins and minerals are so essential for brain function and health. To restore optimal brain function and health, you need to know the WHY, not just the WHAT, of what you are doing.
Key #2: Balance Your Hormones
Your hormones serve as major switching stations and can influence mood and behavior disturbances such as depression, panic attacks, anxiety, insomnia, ADHD, pre-dementia, Alzheimer’s, and even weight gain.
Many of us are living out of balance and don’t recognize it. Does your mood or energy swing up and down? Do you crave sugar or salt? Are you uninterested in sex? Do you have thinning hair or are you putting on more belly fat?
If so, you are not alone. Small molecules in our body that we depend on to keep us in balance are going haywire, and these molecules are involved in one way or another in almost every function of the body.
Key #3: Cool Off Inflammation
If you have a sore throat, a swollen joint, or a rash, you know you are inflamed–but if your brain is inflamed, you feel nothing. Nothing, that is, except depressed, unfocused, or–worse–autistic or demented.
New evidence links hidden brain inflammation to almost every known “brain disease,” from depression to dementia, from autism to anxiety, from schizophrenia to sociopathic behavior.
The brain is on fire in the twenty-first century. If one in three Americans suffers from a mental illness, and fourteen million Americans will soon have Alzheimer’s, and nearly all mood disorders and age-related brain diseases are symptoms of an inflamed or “sore” brain, then this problem touches everyone.
You might say we are all on fire.
Key #4: Fix Your Digestion
Did you know that your gut has more neurotransmitters and serotonin (happy-mood chemicals) than your brain does?
New science shows the obvious connection between the gut and the brain. What happens in the gut affects the health of your brain.
Your gut is responsible for breaking down food, letting in the good stuff (like vitamins and minerals), blocking out the bad stuff (like toxins and bad bugs), and making good bacteria to protect you.
If your gut breaks down because of stress and a poor diet, your brain won’t be happy. Breakdown anywhere in this process creates illness.
Key #5: Enhance Detoxification
Our bodies must eliminate all our metabolic wastes and all the toxins we take in from the environment and through our food, air, water, and medications. The toxic burden in the twenty-first century is overwhelming, and often our bodies can’t keep up. This leads to illness.
Toxic overload shuts down every biochemical process in your body and can lead to dementia, Parkinson’s, and Alzheimer’s, to name a few.
Key #6: Boost Energy Metabolism
Life is energy. Once no more energy is produced in your cells, you die. The process of extracting energy from the food you eat and the oxygen you breathe is the most essential procedure of life. Keeping that metabolic engine running smoothly and protecting it from harm is essential for health.
Enough energy means a happy, healthy, focused, and sharp brain. Lack of energy means slowed mental function, autism, mood disorders like depression, and ultimately Parkinson’s and dementia.
Key #7: Calm Your Mind
A life of meaning and purpose, a life in balance with connection, community, love, support, and a sense of empowerment is essential for health. The overwhelming stresses of the twenty-first century, including social isolation, overwork, and disempowerment, create enormous stresses on our nervous systems, leading to burnout and breakdown.
A stiff, rigid, “hard” personality is reflected in stiff cells, rigid plaques in the brain, and a general loss of resilience. We lose the ability to renew, remember, and repair.
This is not just a metaphor for what happens. Your brain literally stiffens, slows, and loses function in direct relationship to your thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes about you and your place in the world. How each of us responds to our life–to our perceptions–has enormous implications for how we feel, how we age, and the health of our brain.
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