Neurodegenerative diseases, attention deficit disorders, mental illnesses, and chronic stress and fatigue syndrome are steadily on the rise in the United States. As are obesity, diabetes, sleep deprivation, and cardiovascular disease.
What do all of these prevalent maladies have in common? They are all linked to the health and function of your brain. In fact, everything is linked to your brain.
We each possess our very own mastermind that governs every organ, cell, and system in our body. Our brain is also responsible for more abstract responsibilities such as feelings, moods, thoughts, memories, learning, and beliefs. We have each been gifted with this present life and mind, so, here’s an idea, why not thrive instead of just survive? To improve your brain function is the decision to thrive. And believe it or not, it’s not as daunting as your preconceptions might have led you to believe.
Conventional vs. Innovative Approach to Brain Health
Conventional medicine has long separated individual parts of the body from one another in order to make diagnoses, prescribe treatments, and monitor healing processes. However, we are not made up of just a bunch of separate and individual-acting pieces, but instead, of a complicated circuit of interconnected and interdependent parts of a whole. When you improve your brain function, you are essentially improving all other functions in your body in one way or another.
This is not just some off the cuff claim, though; there is extensive scientific research, as well as a whole field of study dedicated to this concept of interconnectedness called Psycho-neuro-endocrine-immunology (PNEI).
Health is not solely defined in terms of physical health and the absence of infirmity; it must also include emotions, mental attitudes, nutrition, lifestyle, social and familial support, and both the animate and inanimate environment. Between the all-too-common high-stress, fast-paced, yet predominantly sedentary lifestyles many of us are currently leading; which are more often than not fueled by processed foods, too much meat and sugar, not enough sleep or water, and an unnatural attachment to screens over nature, our brains and bodies are teetering on the brink of a breakdown. And we wonder why we are chronically fatigued, ill, unfocused, unhappy, and are generally existing in a state of malaise.
To improve our lives and our health, we must improve our brain function.
So, let’s start at the top, at the brain, and work our way down and around, and back up again.
How to Improve Your Brain Function
The Trickle-Down Effect
To understand the why and how of the proven methods to improve your brain function that we will share with you soon, it is important to have a fundamental understanding of the immunological hierarchy. As you will notice, there is a “trickle-down effect” that occurs from the top of the hierarchy down to the base. It is this naturally occurring trickle-down effect that makes taking care of your brain all the more crucial since everything below it is connected to it.
At the top of the immunological hierarchy are emotions, which are linked to motivation, learning, memory, and mood. → Followed by the hypothalamus, whose primary function is to maintain internal homeostasis. → Then, the pituitary gland, which stores and releases different critical hormones. → Next, are the thyroid glands, which are responsible for your metabolic rate, heart and digestive functions, brain development, mood, muscle control, and bone maintenance. → And, at the base, are your gonads (sexual organs) and adrenal glands that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and various stress responses.
All of these interconnected parts make up your psycho-neuro-endocrine-immune system.
Innovative Medicine published a more in-depth article on how thoughts affect physiology, and a valuable point they made was that “this immunological hierarchy now scientifically shows us that our health is inextricably linked to our thoughts and emotions whether they are conscious thoughts we experience every day or subconscious belief systems that have been running in the background your whole life.
This vital discovery confirms the need for medicine to not just focus on the biochemistry of a patient, but the psycho-emotional state and the way a patient thinks.
So, what this all boils down to is that in order to achieve optimal brain health, we must include both the physical and emotional body in our everyday self-care practices. The same way that you are what you eat, you also are what you think.
Signs of Subpar Brain Function
Since most of the functions that the brain and the PNEI system controls are involuntary, many of us won’t even realize we are having a brain function dilemma or shortcoming until more noticeable symptoms surface. The first to come to mind is probably related to memory loss, and in advanced cases, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. However, brain function decline or underperformance can also show itself in the form of chronic fatigue, depression, anxiety, headaches, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, addiction, weakened immune system, global or acute inflammation, and a whole range of chronic diseases and cancers.
When your brain isn’t functioning at its fullest capacity, things below can begin to falter. The goods news is, though, taking care of your brain is pretty basic. The following six ways to improve your brain function are just a few of many. However, we chose these ones because we find them to be some of the most important and doable for anyone willing to make some minor changes for the greater good of their brain and life.
See how we can help you restore complete health of body, mind & spirit.
6 Proven Ways to Improve Your Brain Function
1. Eat a Nutrient-Dense Brain Diet
Your brain’s primary fuel source comes from glucose, a simple sugar that is broken down from carbohydrates. The best source of glucose for your brain is from complex carbohydrates, which include whole grains, rice, pasta, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and seeds. The keyword here is complex. Simple carbs, which are found in sodas, packaged cookies, baked desserts, and fruit juice concentrate offer zero nutritional value and benefit to your brain function.
Aside from a diet rich in healthy forms of glucose, your brain also thrives on vitamins B6, B12, E, and D, iron, zinc, magnesium, folate, thiamine, and omega-3 fatty acids. You can find these nutrients, and many more, including an array of antioxidants in dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens), broccoli, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cabbage, flaxseeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and black beans; just to name a few.
If you want a sharp, focused, energized, and productive mind that is also able to remember things and perform the seemingly infinite operations that are constantly taking place inside of your body, you must properly feed your brain!
2. Make Sleep a Priority
As concisely stated by Scientific America, “Sleep serves to reenergize the body’s cells, clear waste from the brain, and support learning and memory. It even plays vital roles in regulating mood, appetite, and libido.” While your conscious mind and body might be resting, your brain is working away, performing essential tasks that require between seven and nine hours to complete. Sleep is a vital restorative process, but the Center for Disease Control reports that one in three adults in the United States doesn’t obtain sufficient sleep on a regular basis.
Chronic sleep deprivation increases your risks of developing dementia, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, obesity, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, colon cancer, and heart disease. Not to mention, it can lead to a decrease in productivity, alertness, creativity, energy, and happiness. Your brain also can age an additional three to five years from long-term sleep deprivation!
So, do yourself and your brain a huge favor and make sleep a top priority, starting tonight.
3. Move, Move, Move
Do you want to improve your memory and mental clarity, reduce your chances of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and depression; and eliminate excess fat from your body? All you need to do is move!
According to a study conducted by the University of British Columbia, it was found that “regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning. The benefits of exercise come directly from its ability to reduce insulin resistance, reduce inflammation, and stimulate the release of growth factors—chemicals in the brain that affect the health of brain cells, the growth of new blood vessels in the brain, and even the abundance and survival of new brain cells. Exercise also improves mood and sleep and reduces stress and anxiety. Problems in these areas cause or contribute to cognitive impairment.”
To remove yourself from the 80% of Americans who don’t get enough exercise on a weekly basis, all you have to do is walk, swim, hike, bike, dance, ski, kickbox, or any other cardio activity that you enjoy for 120 minutes a week.
As important as movement is to your brain function, so is stillness. It has become widely accepted that meditation can contribute to mental clarity and lower levels of stress and anxiety. But recent scientific evidence confirms that meditation also affects four different parts of your brain (the amygdala, pons, posterior cingulate, and left hippocampus) that contribute to well-being, empathy, self-awareness, self-relevance, present-mindedness, sleep, sensory input processing, and basic physical functioning.
The benefits come from your ability to quiet your thoughts and inner dialogue and let the present moment just be. The intention is to allow any thoughts that do pop up in your head to just flow through and out of your mind without any specific attention given to them.
Like anything new, meditation takes practice. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and the more benefits you will noticeably receive.
Incorporating a meditation practice into your daily life is a no-brainer!
5. Embrace Life-Long Learning
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “use it, or lose it.” Well, there is definitely some truth to this age-old adage! Regularly challenging and stimulating your brain has been shown to reduce cognitive degeneration and memory loss. Keeping the synapses stimulated has also been directly linked to a reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
If you want a healthy, strong, and high-performing brain, you have to train and exercise it. You can do this by learning another language, learning to play an instrument, taking up a new craft, completing puzzles and games, spending time at museums and cultural centers, attending educational talks or seminars, listening to thought-provoking podcasts, or reading books or articles that challenge you to open your mind to different ideas and perspectives.
When your mind and body are in alignment, homeostasis is possible. When your mind and body are in a state of homeostasis, perfect health can be achieved; and isn’t that what we all want?
So, let’s start at the top, at the brain!
A Missing Link: Nadovim
Nadovim is Innovative Medicine’s flagship product and is the first physician-formulated comprehensive brain supplement to use NAD+ (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) — “a molecule that reacts with oxygen in the mitochondria in every cell of your body in order to create energy so you can move, breathe, pump blood, digest food, think, and generally, live your life. — Lack of this essential cellular fuel is now recognized as a key feature of chronic fatigue, apathy, depression, anxiety, alcohol and drug addiction, weak immune system, muscular pain and weakness, headaches, memory disturbances, sleep problems, focus and concentration defects, and other chronic diseases.”
Disclaimer: The statements made in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products or treatments mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Please consult a licensed medical practitioner for medical advice.
At Innovative Medicine, we believe in transparency. We want you to know that we may participate in affiliate advertising programs pertaining to products mentioned herein.
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