IIt has long been believed – ordinary people and brain health experts – that each person has a finite number of brain cells, which decrease over time. Lose it enough and it can lead to nerve damage or diseases, including dementia. It’s a school of thinking that can get someone obsessed with every ball they’ve ever bumped their head into or the night they drank too much alcohol.
But this line of thinking isn’t entirely true based on what researchers have learned about brain health over the past decade. Many scientific studies are connecting certain foods and lifestyle habits neurogenesisprocess by which new nerve cells develop in the brain. That is a psychiatrist topic Drew Ramsey, MD talking about his new book, Eat to beat depression and anxiety ($ 22) and means we can proactively protect ourselves from cognitive decline – at least partially. Encouraged, right? The key, of course, is to know how to do it.
Brain cells are destroyed like?
Before we get involved in brain cell development, it can be helpful to know exactly what kills them in the first place. This leads to high levels of chronic inflammation, Dr. Ramsey says. While the dosage is small Short-term inflammation can actually be beneficial, experiencing high levels of inflammation for the long term possible damage to the brain (and whole body, TBH).
“Scientific research has made it very clear that excessive inflammation affects the vessels in the brain,” said Dr. Ramsey. Inflammation not only disrupts brain vessels, it actively kills brain cells, too. He explained that the inflamed brain leads to brain fog, anxiety, depression, low energy and (for a long time) cognitive decline and disease. What causes chronic inflammation? Chronic stress, eat a lot Processed sugars, processed meats and refined carbs, and Sleepless are some of the main reasons.
Something else chronic inflammation does is inhibit nerve formation, a process crucial for the production of new brain cells, the neuroscientist said. Faye Begeti, MD, Ph.D.. “The brain is shielded by the blood-brain barrier. This barrier may leak, but this will only happen in a persistent, generalized infection rather than a mere cough or cold, ”she said.
Watch the video below to learn more about the link between diet and inflammation:
How new brain cells are developed
Okay, so we can blame excessive inflammation that kills brain cells. How do we get them back? Actively working to fight off inflammation. According to Dr. Ramsey, this not only prevents nerve cells from dying, but also leads to brain cell growth.
However, when it comes to brain cell growth, it’s important to understand the connection between nerve formation and nerve endurance – the two words sound the same, but have different meanings – Said Dr. Begeti. While neural cell formation refers to the development of new brain cells, she explains that neural flexibility is where existing nerve cells grow and form different connections with each other. . “It’s like branches of a tree intertwined from nearby trees,” she said. “Nerve endurance plays an important role in shaping our brains into who we are, learning and recovering from diseases, such as stroke.” Neuroplasticity is how all current and new brain cells communicate with each other; That is why both are important, adds Dr. Begeti. (But since most of the scientific research on nerve endurance has been done in mice – very few have been done in humans – one’s knowledge of brain rewinds is still limited. , she speaks.)
From what doctor may said, it seems that nerve formation occurs only in two parts of the brain, the hippocampus is one of them. (The remainder is olfactory, linked to olfaction.) Dr. Ramsey explains that the hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for emotional health as well as the function of memorizing old memories and create new memories. Therefore, nerve formation is the key to keeping mentally sharp and emotionally balanced. And that’s where you eat and your daily routine can come in.
Food and lifestyle habits promote nerve formation
A healthy diet, adequate sleep and regular exercise are all beneficial for the hippocampus, studies have shown. “Exercise, socializing, and enriching the environment – which means having a lot of stimulating activity – increase nerve formation, but these studies have only been done in mice, because research is difficult.” [brain cell growth] in humans, ”said Dr. Begeti. This means that while there may be a strong association, more human studies are needed to confirm it.
Even so, a number of nutrients have been linked to benefit the brain through neurogenesis in humans, according to Dr. Ramsey: Omega-3 fatty acids (found in foods such as fish, nuts and seeds, and soybeans), phytonutrients (compounds naturally found in plants such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes), Vitamins of group B (found in meat, milk, whole grains, dark green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, avocados, bananas, nuts and seeds, and legumes), zinc (found in lean meats, eggs, seafood, lentils, nuts and soybeans), and magnesium (found in whole grains, soybeans, nuts and seeds, legumes, and dark chocolate). This is one reason why so many doctors adopt the Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes all of the foods mentioned here.
Watch the video below to learn more about the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in nutrients associated with nerve formation:
In addition to all the nutrients mentioned above, Dr. Ramsey says there is a specific brain chemical that plays a role in nerve endurance and brain cell development: BDNF, which is one neurotrophinIt is also known as a protein that helps brain cells grow and survive. He said in his book: “Some say that BDNF is like ‘Miracle-Gro for the brain’ – a fertilized biological molecule that supports the creation of new brain cells and synapses in the process. development process. He also said that in addition to helping brain cell growth, BNDF also works to protect the mind from toxins.
Want to increase your BDNF production? Dr Ramsey says to regularly eat assorted Omega-3 fatty acids key. (Yes, this nutrient is twice as good for brain health.) He said flavonoids, a type of antioxidant found in green tea, berries, kale, tomatoes, dark chocolate and nuts (except macadamia and Brazil nuts), has also been linked to boosting. pushes more BDNF production in the brain.
Including all of the aforementioned foods in your diet will likely benefit your hippocampus, but Dr. Ramsey says do what you can to prevent excessive inflammation. It is also very important in general, as it kills precious nerve cells. When it comes to food, cook with such anti-inflammatory spices turmeric, rosemary and ginger can help. Therefore, priority can be given Get enough fiber. In terms of lifestyle, Dr. Ramsey said stress management, Good night, and regular movement are all keys.
And when prioritizing these healthy practices, keep in mind that adopting a ‘matter’ mindset can help create new habits. “Knowing that we can actively develop our brain size really gives me strength,” says Dr. Ramsey. “It motivates me to choose nutrient-rich foods, meditation and exercise. It’s not always easy to do those things consistently, but when you know how it affects your brain, it’s very motivating. After all, mind is a terrible thing to man.
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