September is Alzheimer Awareness and Prevention Month
I’ve seen first hand the devastation of slowly losing your cognitive ability. It is cruel.
Wouldn’t you want to do something about it so that it never happens to you or a loved one?
Here’s the thing, you can!
In our society we tend to seek help when we are in a state of "unease" or "dis-ease" but rarely as a method of prevention or health optimization. Can you imagine how many health issues and chronic disease we could avoid? For instance, did you know that most cases of Alzheimer’s disease take 30 years to develop and that Alzheimer disease is predicted to raise two folds by 2050. Well, I don’t know about you but I do not want to be a part of that statistic! That’s why I’ve devoted part of my practice in preventing and supporting brain health and cognitive function. So let’s get started, implement some changes in our lifestyle in prevention-optimization before reaching states of unease- disease.
Optimizing brain health is an act of balance and a fine dance between the following 8 imbalances:
1. Optimized nutrition
2. Balanced Hormones
3. Reduced Inflammation
4. Addressing Gut Health
5. Enhanced Detoxification
6. Boosting Energy production
8. Caring for Emotions and Stress
Addressing these not only impacts and benefits brain health but your overall health too.
SO, Let’s Get Started!
Here are 5 tips to take care of your brain.
Important! Start somewhere, anywhere, just start.
1. OPTIMIZE YOUR NUTRITION:
Proper nutrition is essential to peak brain function. Not only does proper nutrition help your mind but your overall health. Of course, the true optimized nutrition is the one that supports your own unique needs. Here are some general quick tips to get you started:
Consume a whole-food based diet.
Avoid refined sugars and refined carbohydrates, processed foods, additives, preservatives and artificial sweeteners.
Avoid trans-fatty acids from partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Aim for a vegetable to fruit ratio of 5:1 and select produce representing all colors of the rainbow.
Consume at least 35 grams of fibre daily from a variety of sources to support the gut microbiome, hormone balance and the circadian system- sleep.
Incorporate healthy fats in your diet such as avocado, wild-caught salmon, sardines, olive oil, coconut, nuts and seeds.
Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening.
Limit your alcohol intake. Drinking is a major risk factor for dementia. If you choose to drink, limit yourself particularly within three hours of bedtime.
2. Drink More Water:
Every system in the human body needs water to function. Your brain is 80% water. Being dehydrated by just 2% impairs performance in tasks that require attention, immediate memory skills, and physical performance. Maintain adequate fluid intake. Aim for about 8- 8oz. of filtered water per day.
3. Get Regular Exercise:
Physical activity is perhaps the single most important thing you can do to keep your brain healthy. Exercise can boost blood flow and other positive nutrients to the brain, support detoxification, increase your levels of dopamine and generate new brain cells that can help the brain self-regulate and calm down. Also, walking can help you clear your mind, decrease anxious feelings, improve your mood and burn some calories all at the same time. Avoid sitting for long periods. For each hour of sitting, stand up and walk for 5 minutes. Find ways to introduce daily movement into your routine. Find something you love to do and get moving.
4. Get Quality Sleep:
Getting at least 7-8 hours of quality sleep a night has been shown to help your brain function at optimal levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, you have overall decreased blood flow to your brain, which disrupts thinking, memory, and concentration. Turn off all electronics 1-2 hours prior to your bedtime. Take an Epsom salt bath before bed to induce relaxation and help improve quality of sleep. Do not sleep with your electronic devices by your bed.
From time to time, all of us need to recharge our batteries and self-care is key to physical and mental health. Learning how to counteract stress and calm your body helps your brain, puts you in a better mood, reduces blood pressure, and protects you from disease.
Consider mindfulness meditation, guided imagery, progressive relaxation, or biofeedback techniques such as Heart Math.
Visualization and meditation are also great for the brain by increasing blood flow to our brain, better mood, energy and reduces inflammation markers.
Use calming essential oils such as Lavender. Place 15 drops in bathtub and soak.
Consume calming teas such as chamomile.
Walk barefoot on grass or sand (earthing) when possible.
Get outside into nature daily.
Next Week We Will Cover the Best Supplements and Foods to Support Excellent Brain Health
About the Author
Clinical Functional Nutritionist
Following a career in law and a move to Toronto, Caroline decided to pursue her true passions, holistic health and helping others. Caroline’s passion for holistic health grew through the years while searching for solutions for her personal health problems. Her personal successful journey towards health and vitality is a testament to the impactful contribution of nutrition. She practices clinical nutrition at VitalityMD.
Using a functional medicine approach, Caroline focuses on uncovering the root causes, the “why”, of your health issues by carefully listening to her clients concerns, looking at the body as a whole, conducting detailed intakes and delivering achievable and customized health programs to restore and maintain optimal health and vitality.
Learn About Caroline's 21 Day Digestive Reset Program