We’ve all seen those stunning body transformation before-and-after photos. But have you ever seen a brain transformation photo? Like somebody with memory issues and difficulty concentrating… to someone who can think clearly? Truth: You’re not stuck with the brain you have right now, you can make it better and improve brain performance starting today!
Let’s start by defining what we mean by brain health? How can you tell if your brain is healthy? Brain health includes cognitive health, and mental-and-emotional health. Cognitive health is the ability to think, learn and remember. And mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. Brain health is marked by a person’s ability to function in daily life, including memory and learning, decision making, problem solving, social interaction and being emotionally balanced. When there are problems functioning in these areas, we can then look to the brain to discover what lies beneath the symptoms. Of course we can’t open up a person’s skull and look inside, so we turn to the miracle of modern medicine’s scanning technology to look inside and see what’s happening.
Brain SPECT imaging (that stands for Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography) is a nuclear medicine scan that reliably shows blood flow and brain activity in different parts of the brain. Using SPECT imaging you can actually see before-and-after photos of brain transformations!
There’s only one problem.. a complete evaluation including brain SPECT imaging runs about $4500. The next best option is a brain health assessment questionnaire, which is free. If you’re interested in learning more about YOUR brain health, click here. Dr. Daniel Amen is a Christian Doctor of Psychiatry and Neurology, best-selling author and speaker, and comes highly recommended.
But for this article I want to give you 5 ways you can transform your brain. “You’re not stuck with the brain you have,” Dr. Amen says, and I agree, “you CAN make it better.” You can improve brain performance today, and you may be surprised how many of these things will transform your body too. So let’s get started:
- Nutrition, including nutritional supplements. What you put in your body is the number 1 way to transform your brain or keep it healthy throughout your life. A diet rich in omega 3 fatty acids, low in saturated fats, with lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables and whole grains has been SHOWN to lower your risk for Alzheimer’s disease. This is not theory, there’s actual research backing up these claims. Omega 3s in particular appear to increase mental focus and slow cognitive decline in older adults. Also avoid nicotine and drug abuse. Nicotine inhibits blood flow to the brain, and drugs can cause damage due to seizures and stroke and direct toxic effects on brain cells. What you keep out of your body is just as important as what you put in it.
- Exercise. Research shows that using your muscles also helps your brain. It increases blood flow, spurs the development of new nerve cells and increases the connections between brain cells, called synapses. A large Canadian study found- the more physically active adults are, the better they score on tests of memory and problem solving. So if you haven’t started exercising regularly yet, add brain-health to the list of benefits of exercise.
- Sleep. Sleep plays an important role in brain health. Sleep gives your brain time to consolidate and store your memories more effectively. Also new research shows that during sleep the brain clears out toxins that can lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We know sleep also improves your immune system and hormone balance and overall health and energy levels. The average amount of sleep needed by most adults is 8 hours. Some more, some less. But it’s important you get YOUR quota of sleep every night.
- Get mentally active. Your brain is like a muscle, if you don’t use it you lose it. Research on mice and humans has shown that mental activities stimulate new synapses and may actually help the brain generate new cells. Any mentally stimulating activity will help build your brain. Read, take an online course (hint hint), do crossword puzzles, learn a musical instrument, or try drawing or painting. You can incorporate several different activities to increase their effectiveness.
- Socialize. Socializing is very mentally stimulating. When you’re socially interacting the blood circulates to several different parts of your brain as you’re listening and formulating responses. Also social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss and cognitive decline. Strong social ties have been associated with lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.
So we see a HUGE overlap between ways to transform your brain and improve brain health, and ways to transform your body and improve physical health. What’s good for your brain is good for your body, and visa versa. Not surprisingly number 1 on the list is good nutrition. And based on feedback of clients and listeners of S&M, that’s the most challenging area of health and fitness to put into practice. Well I want to help you. So I created the "Spirit and Muscle Calorie-Calculator-Combo" It comes with an online calorie calculator that tells you how many calories you need to eat each day. It also comes with the top 5 calorie counting apps, so you can start tracking your food intake and make sure you’re eating right for your goals. And it comes with the S&M Glycemic Index Food Guide, with nutritional recommendations and meal planning ideas to help you make healthy food choices. So if you’re ready to take your fitness to the next level, you can get all three free resources by clicking the link below.
Thanks for reading. Pease share these articles and videos if they are helping you. My goal is to help as many people as possible. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time!