How to Create Optimal Brain Health
by Laura Brown, Certified Holistic Health Coach, Process Improvement Expert
Have you ever experienced any of the following?
- Brain fog?
- Fuzzy thinking?
- Headaches or migraines?
- Lack of energy/burnout/Stress?
- Memory problems?
- ADD and attention problems?
These days, problems such as the above are on the rise, due to our modern lifestyles, environmental pollutants, and chemical additives in our foods. But there are ways to reverse the effects of all these stressors, and protect our brains from damage.
When we talk about the brain, we’re really talking about the brain and the nervous system – it’s all connected. Rudolph Steiner (an Austrian philosopher who started the Waldorf schools and Biodynamic Agriculture) said “The nervous system exclusively serves as our organism’s sense receptor”. The function of the brain and nervous system is to integrate all the various sense impressions that come to us.
Ideally, the brain should live in quiet and stillness. It should be cool and clear like deep water. When it’s not, we develop problems with the brain. These problems can result from the two main pathways for brain and nerve injury:
- Excito-toxins, such as the following:
- MSG (http://www.msgtruth.org/avoid.htm)
- Aspartame (found in diet Coke among other things, see http://www.msgtruth.org/aspartam.htm)
- Neuro-toxic proteins in breakfast cereals formed during the extrusion process (under high heat)
- TV exposure
- Florescent light exposure
- Substances such as the following:
- Alcohol (consumed immoderately)
- Organophosphate agricultural chemicals
Here are some steps we can take to support the health of our brains:
- Consume brain foods:
– Nuts (1 oz./day) especially walnuts (they look like little brains)
– Fish (three fist size servings/week) – especially cold-water fish like salmon
– Tomato (8 oz. juice or 2 tbs sauce, with oil) – lycopene protects against certain cancers
– Olive oil with avocado – healthy fats are brain food
– REAL (cacao-based) 70% or greater chocolate, preferably raw (“certain food components like cocoa flavonols may be beneficial in increasing brain blood flow and enhancing brain function…” – Ian A. Macdonald, University of Nottingham Medical School)
- Consume brain protectors:
– Blueberries, Blackberries, Muscadine grapes & skins (anti-oxidant, anti-cancer)
– Cilantro (said to help remove mercury from brain and nervous system. Use with caution.)
– Turmeric (anti-inflammatory) – according to Dr. Thomas Cowan, in the Fourfold Path to Healing, researchers noticed “that people who consume a lot of curry (which contains a lot of turmeric) have very low rates of Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases”.
- Tune-up with supplements. 92% of us are deficient:
– Multi-vitamin daily (insurance policy)
– Fish oil (anti-inflammatory)
– Calcium & magnesium (relaxes your nervous system)
– Vitamin D (Studies have confirmed the positive effects of vitamin D and brain function. )
– B complex and especially B12 (B group vitamins, in particular, especially folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, are again making headlines for their powerful role in preventing Alzheimer’s disease. – Dr. Mercola). Very important to get the right kind of B12 – methylcobalamin is the easiest for your body to absorb.
– Probiotics – gut health greatly influences brain health.
– Garlic – antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.
- Hit the pause button
(see My Stroke of Insight, by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, for more on right-brain pause)
- Relax, get a massage
- Take an ultra-bath, incorporating the following three ingredients:
- Epsom salt – 2 cups
- Baking soda – ½ cup
- Lavender oil – 10 drops (lowers cortisol)
- Play sodoku or scrabble
- Exercise – walking
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep
- Live clean and green
To reduce over-stimulation of the brain, we need to reduce our exposure to the unnatural, and increase access to the natural world. Turn off the TV, go outside in Nature, and listen to live music rather than recorded, eat real food, walk on the Earth rather than concrete. Also try the following:
- Have plants in your home – they oxygenize the air
- Keep at least 6 feet away from your clock radio by bed
- Hold your cell phone away from body (if must use), use speakerphone
- Drink filtered water
Brain Health Resources
- The New Feminine Brain – by Mona Lisa Schultz
- My Stroke of Insight – by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor
- The Fourfold Path to Healing, Thomas S. Cowan, MD and Sally Fallon
Laura Brown is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and the author of Redesigning Your Health – A Road Map to Self-directed Healing (September 2014, Chattahoochee Chase Publishing). A Certified Holistic Health Coach is a nutrition expert, wellness authority and a supportive coach. She received her certification from The Institute for Integrative Nutrition in alliance with Columbia University’s Teachers College.
For more information, and for resource guides targeting specific conditions, see http://www.redesigningyourhealth.com
Or call 770-953-0534
Copyright © 2015 by Laura Brown. All rights reserved.