Keep Your Brain SHARP!

by Sandy Lutrin, ND

As we get older neural pathways shrink, connectivity between synapses slows, and brain metabolism and blood flow are reduced.  However, recent research shows that we can regain brain losses, strengthen synapses. and increase blood flow at any age.  When you adopt healthy brain-lifestyle behaviors, you will notice improvements.  Start focusing on these proven habits and your brain and memory will reap the benefits.

Healthy Diet:  The acronym MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay.  Studies have shown that adults who follow the MIND diet score as much as seven and a half years younger than their chronological age on cognitive tests.  The focus of this diet is on consuming fresh, organic vegetables, beans, whole grains, mixed nuts, omega-3 containing seafood, poultry, Extra Virgin olive oil and one daily glass of wine, while limiting red meat, cheese, butter, margarine, pastries and other sweets, and fried and fast foods.

Exercise:  Exercise is a proven way to boost brain health.  It increases blood, oxygen and nutrients to the brain.  In so doing, it increases the circulation of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which helps grow new neural circuits.

Herbal Medicines:  Supplements containing  herbs and nutrients such as  Ginkgo, Bacopa, Vinpocetine, Huperzine, Rhodiola and Ashwaganda may provide added benefits to the aging brain.  All of these may not be appropriate supplements for everyone, so it is best to consult your ND before adding these to your daily regimen.

This information is based on research done by Gary Small M.D., director of the University of California, Los Angeles Longevity Center.

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