Our brain controls so many functions of our body besides being the powerhouse of information; our brain is needed for motor control, visual processing, auditory processing, sensation, and learning.
Brain malfunction can be well understood if related to the current technology that is used in computer. The hard disk contains all the vital information of the computer and without it; the computer is as good as useless. If the hard disk crashes it is tough to recover it back and in most cases it cannot be recovered. Similarly if Amnesia or Alzheimer disease affects our brain it first destroys our brain cells and affects our memory. Loss of memory renders us useless, as we tend to forget all the skills that we have learnt over the period of time including language.
One good telltale of our real age is our mental capacity. We expect that as we become grandmas and grandpas, our intellectual performance can never be the same as our prime years. But why does this happen? And what can we do to avoid thinking like we are old-aged already?
The Process of Aging
Our neurons are non-regenerative. That means they do not divide to reproduce more of its kind. Once they die, they cannot be replaced with another one. As we age, these brain cells of ours start to reduce in size and in number. This reduces our ability to call to mind some things that we have learned, including those in school, and even those details when we were younger.
A neurotransmitter called acetylcholine also declines as we age. This neurotransmitter is directly involved in memory and conveying of messages from a cell to another one, because of the stresses that we have, the hippocampus, our memory bank, also diminish in function.
As we get old also, we develop plaques and tangles that accumulate between and within neurons, respectively. Plaques are proteins that mount up in between neurons while tangles are fibers that grow within the brain cells. Too much of these two are thought to kill nerve cells, like in Alzheimer’s Disease, an age-related disease.
In addition to this, substances are created as a result of our lifestyle and environmental pollution. These substances called free radicals can damage our DNA and impede the production of energy, which can cause early cell death.
Try to challenge the memory often by engaging in memory games and other mentally challenging activities to ensure adequate supply of blood and oxygen to the brain. Taking care of heart and keeping the cholesterol and blood pressure in check helps in clearing the arteries of any block to allow good flow of blood. Hormones, especially estrogen level should be kept in check as it affects our brain and leads to various diseases in longer run.
To delay the signs of aging with regards to our mental capability, we should make a number of things a habit.
As they say, stress is inevitable in everyday life because we need it to overcome large and small obstacles. But, of course, stress has a lot more negative effects than good ones, so to put it simply, try to avoid too much stress. According to some studies, stress does not only make you look older, it also accelerates the degeneration of your brain.
Those who are easily stressed have higher risks to cognitive impairment than those who are not, you should examine your routines and determine the best ways in which you can cope with the obstacles of the day, and here are 2 quick tips:
1) Praying is excellent for coping with stress.
2) Planning ahead can greatly reduce stress.
To stay sharp, one must also have adequate sleep. A new research out of a Massachusetts General Hospital shows that adequate sleep can help you think well. Adequate sleep helps the brain collect different bits of information and have correct interpretation of them. On the contrary, if you sleep less than the required number, you would most likely have a bad performance and mood problems.
Another thing we should regularly do to preserve our brain functions is to meditate. Doing it actually improves attention, learning, and memory. Regular meditation can also help you slow down the shrinking of our gray matter. For younger people, the thought of this is quite ridiculous because meditating is just for elders, but a new study has shown that people who meditate earlier in life have better attention in their succeeding years.
One can’t end a roster of anti-aging recommendations without mentioning eating right. All the medications used to regain the memory back are used for brain nourishment. This can only be achieved thru universal nourishment of body and brain. In order to have them work both in tandem with each other we must feed our body properly at the same time keeps it active by participating in physical and mental activities such as jogging and memory games.
It is true when the say that an apple a day keep s the doctor away. Apples are rich in flavonoids that help protect the brain cells from free radicals. These fruits also contain a good number of antioxidants that do not only make your skin look young; they also raise the levels of the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine that diminishes as we age.
Children in their early stages of life should specifically be taken care of, proper nutrition can ensure their physical as well as mental well being. Right from the stage of pregnancy, future mothers are administered the right dosage of multivitamins and folic acid to help the brain of fetus grow. In cases where folic acid and dietary supplements are not taken low or no mental growth is observed.
Children may become choosy and demand to eat what they like as this may contain “junk food”, this can lead to various deficiencies affecting growth. This has given rise to so many brain health supplements, but many still say the best and most trusted supplement is still Cod liver oil, it is rich in Omega 3 fat that helps in better growth of brain.
Research proves that children who have been given cod liver oil on a regular basis display good memory and active body.
We must not forget that the core brainpower has been derived from the nutrition given at early age, yet it will not last lifetime. We need to supplement it on a regular basis.
There are many over the counter supplements available that are fortified with zinc, magnesium, folic acid and other essential nutrients for brain. But taking these supplements alone will not work wonders; it must be accompanied by a proper diet and exercise.