Who would have thought that one could improve brain health? I mean, if I go to the gym and do biceps exercises or squats, there is a way to measure my progress.
Muscles grow and can be measured or I can move more resistance, lift a heavier weight, and I feel better, (because of the endorphins released when I resistance train) but if I go read classical literature or research in a field I am unfamiliar with, I cannot measure my brain's health or growth in the same way as I can a muscle's growth or health.
(When was the last time anyone complimented you on your axon definition? See?)
If I am still thinking, creating words in my brain, then it must be healthy, right?
Not necessarily. Changes in my brain's health are subtle and cumulative, and we are not sure that once things like Alzheimer's disease have begun that cognitive function can be regained.
It turns out that I need to take care of improving my brain's health just like I do my musculature and skeletal health.
There are four or five areas of concern, including physical exercise, which many say is the most important area, nutrition, stress management, sleep, and novel learning challenges.
When those concerns are addressed I am making it possible for my brain to grow new neurons, which is called neurogenesis, and I am asking my brain to be plastic, which allows it to reorganize itself frequently.
Neuroplasticity is the wonderful way my brain has of keeping itself fired up and curious about the things outside of itself.
While I cannot measure neuroplasticity like I can measure weight lifting resistance, I want to encourage it anyway.
Just no way around it folks, to improve brain health, you must eat lots of fruit and vegetables, and give up processed foods, which are filled with appetite stimulants and msg anymore.
That means no more hamburger helper or cereal from the box. (You might find high fructose corn syrup in your toothpaste or your children's OTC vitamins too).
Even the vegetables you eat need to be bought from local growers if at all possible because if they are picked green and shipped to you without ripening on the vine, they will lack the necessary phytochemicals that develop in the fruit or vegetable when it reaches full maturity on the vine.
It is the vitamins, minerals, fiber, phytonutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that neurons need to keep the neurogenesis and neuroplasticity going strong.
In particular, neurons need omega 3 from cold water ocean-going fish if at all possible, which means eating fish, (not farmed fish, which are subject to the same kind of disease issues as farmed pork or beef) and those fish may have lots of mercury in them, so a supplement may be in order here.