The human brain has been called “the most complex object in the known universe” by Duke neuroscientist Dr. Scott Huettel. Numerous scientific studies have explored the brain and its functions but there is still much more to learn about.
Your brain weighs about 3 pounds and is the fattest organ in your body. It contains about 100 billion neurons and 100,000 miles of blood vessels. A neuron has between 1,000 to 10,000 synapses, the connections between neurons. This should give you an idea of how hard your brain works.
Since the brain is one of the hardest working organs in your body, it’s also very vulnerable to daily stressors which can affect its functions.
Many scientists believe that a decline in cognitive function is a normal effect of aging that starts when you hit your 40s. Your brain does not have any pain receptors but if it did you would definitely feel the effects of an unhealthy lifestyle in your head. This is why some aspects of age-related cognitive decline can manifest in healthy young adults who are between their 20s and 30s.
Dr. Joseph Mercola believes that you shouldn’t take this lying down. There are many things that you can do to support your brain health as you grow older.
3 Basic Steps to Protect Your Brain
What’s good for your body is good for your brain. Dr. Mercola believes that these three factors play a major role in maintaining mental sharpness even as you age:
Regular exercise helps reduce the harmful effects of stress by producing serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, three brain chemicals that promote your emotional wellbeing. Your emotional state and mood can affect cognitive function and memory. Exercise can also help increase the level of brain chemicals called growth factors, which help create new brain cells.
- Stress Management
Stress causes chemical imbalances in your brain. When you’re stressed out, your adrenal and pituitary glands go into “flight or fight” mode and pump the stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol, and dopamine into your bloodstream. These three hormones can rewire your brain and harm your brain cells. High levels of cortisol can cause memory problems and affect your mood. The emotional issues caused by stress stand in the way of optimal brain health, which is why Dr. Mercola recommends the Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), a form of psychological acupressure based on the same energy meridians used in traditional acupuncture but without the invasiveness of needles.
- Modify your diet
Blueberries, eggs, raw milk, walnuts, and wild-caught salmon are some of the foods that can help promote healthy brain function. Blueberries are rich in antioxidants that help protect your brain from oxidation. Organic eggs and raw milk are excellent sources of choline and lecithin, which are the building blocks of your brain and nerve cells. Walnuts and wild salmon contain the omega-3 fat DHA, which supports cognitive function.
Dr. Mercola recently helped developed Krill IQ, a krill oil supplement that contains the omega-3 fats DHA and EPA, choline, phosphatidylserine (PS), and astaxanthin. Studies show that PS helps support concentration, learning, memory, word recall, and other cognitive functions among the elderly.* Astaxanthin is one of the world’s most potent antioxidants and has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier.*