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Keeping your Mind Fit and Healthy

Losing your mind or developing 'brain fog' as you age isn't normal and shouldn't be accepted. As we age brain activity decreases but our lifestyle can make the brain age much quicker, bad diets, chronic stress, health problems, a lack of sleep, alcohol and illegal drugs contribute to our brains early demise. There are though plenty of things that we can do to keep our brains young and alert.

Don't overeat - Restricting calories triggers certain mechanisms in the body to increase the production of nerve growth factors, which are beneficial to the brain. Each and every calorie you consume to maintain a healthy weight should be packed with nutrition.

Eat your Berries - Studies have shown that eating foods rich in antioxidants can significantly reduce your risk of cognitive impairment. Fruits and Vegetables like blueberries, blackberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, spinach, broccoli, brussels, avocados, oranges, red grapes, red peppers and cherries. 

Protein calms you down - Lean proteins contain L-tyrosine, an amino acid that is important in creating brain neuro transmitters. this amino acid also produces dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine which are critical for balancing mood and energy. L-tryptophan is another amino acid found in protein which is responsible for the production of Serotonin, it is found in meat, eggs and milk. It has been found that increasing levels of L-tryptophan can be very helpful for stabilising mood, improving mental clarity and sleep and reducing aggressiveness. Great sources of lean protein include fish, chicken, lean beef, beans, nuts, high protein grains and high protein vegetables such as spinach.

Lose the cereal at breakfast time - its especially important to consume protein for breakfast as it increases attention and focus. 

No Sugar - Sugar increases inflammation in your body, increasing erratic brain cell firing .

Fat is your friend - The brain is 60% fat, so any abnormalities in the bodies fat level can cause problems in the brain. The 100 billion nerve cells in your brain need essential fatty acids to function. Focus on healthy fats, like omega 3 fatty acids, found in salmon, mackerel, walnuts and green leafy vegetables. Low level of omega 3 fatty acids are associated with depression, anxiety, obesity, ADHD, suicide and an increased risk of Alzheimers disease and dementia.

Drink plenty of water - Proper hydration is essential for proper cognitive function, even slight dehydration can increase the bodies stress hormones and this can be associated with memory loss and obesity.

Exercise - Try interval training, short bursts at full effort followed by longer periods of recovery is a great mood enhancer plus burns body fat at a more efficient level than moderate intensity exercise. Add resistance training, according to research conducted by Rush University medical Center in Chicago, individuals with weakened muscles appear to have a greater risk of developing alzheimers disease and experiencing declines in cognitive function.

Sleep - Much needed to regenerate the brain and its functions, it is imperative that you get a good nights sleep so that your brain is ready to work the following day.

Play Ping Pong - Activities which involve high levels of co-ordination such as dancing, tennis or table tennis can boost your brains function.

Super Vitamin D - Sometimes known as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is best known for helping to build bones and boost your immune system, it is also essential for brain health, mood and memory. Low levels have been associated with depression, autism and psychosis. Vitamin D plays a crucial role in many of the most basic cognitive functions, including learning and forming memories. Vitamin D rich foods include milk, salmon and mackerel, there is no beating getting outdoors though and getting your daily dose from the sun.

Follow these simple guidelines and you will be prolonging the active ability of your brain.

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