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Why You Should Keep Your Brain Healthy

Why you should keep your brain healthy

I saw the new film “Concussion” a few weeks back. In it, Will Smith gives a stunning performance as Dr. Bennet Omalu, the pathologist who discovers chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a progressive degenerative brain disease found in athletes with a history of repetitive brain trauma. The movie follows Dr. Omalu’s journey to bring to light the reality of the suffering experienced by the NFL players with this disorder.

The players affected would sometimes develop violent personalities or feel like they were going crazy. No one ever attributed their change in behavior to repeated concussions. Although the NFL was slow to accept the the scientific evidence, they now seem to be taking steps to prevent repeated concussions.

Watching this deeply moving film got me thinking about the importance of brain health. While most of us don?t suffer from repeated head trauma like football players do, it is of utmost importance that we keep our brains healthy to ensure that the rest of our bodies stay healthy and functioning in the long-run.

The Importance of Brain Health

Your brain needs proper exercise, care, and nutrition just like any other organ or muscle in your body. When neglected and unstimulated, it becomes weak, leaving it susceptible to the effects of time and aging. As we age, we tend to lose brain function. This can result in memory loss, deterioration and cerebral atrophy. The good news is that we can effectively keep our brains healthy with the right exercise and food!

What You Can Do

Some of the best activities for the brain are:

  • good sleep
  • exercise
  • meditation
  • learning a new language
  • playing an instrument
  • taking memory tests

Trying new things helps your noggin’ form new neural connections, which keeps your brain stimulated and functioning. Keep your brain on its toes (so to speak) by trying one new thing every month for improved brain health!

What You Can Eat

Here are some of the best foods, herbs and spices you can eat to keep your brain performing at its best! Consider adding in a few of these items to your regular diet and reap some serious cranium benefits:

  • turmeric
  • saffron
  • sage
  • cinnamon
  • blueberries
  • spinach
  • walnuts
  • almonds
  • green tea
  • avocados

In fact, the omega-3s in certain nuts (like walnuts and almonds) and healthy fats (like those found in avocados) have been found to improve mood and calm inflammation that may lead to brain-cell death.

In the Event of Brain Injury

People with even mild head?injuries often experience cognitive, behavioral and emotional problems. We should all protect our heads from injuries, so reconsider hitting a soccer ball with your head or skiing without a helmet. It may seem like an overreaction, but our brains are soft and can be injured by our skulls in the event of a fall or trauma.

As Daniel G. Amen, MD said: “People should seek professional help for themselves or a family member when their behaviors, feelings, thoughts, or memory (all brain functions) interfere with their ability to reach their potential in their relationships, work, academics, or health.”

If you or someone you love is suddenly having trouble functioning like normal, don’t hesitate, contact your doctor to discuss the symptoms and to prevent future issues.

Suzanne Schaper is a Board Certified Massage Therapist serving Lenexa and Overland Park, KS. She loves sharing her knowledge for health and wellness with her customers. "A life free of pain and disease is a more full life." Suzanne enjoys assisting her customers in their pursuit of health and happiness.

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