Our brains do everything for us. In fact, it is arguably the most important organ in the human body. It controls our body movements, our reactions, allows us to think and feel. It’s highly complex and it’s what makes us human. So why wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to keep it healthy?
Brain health is becoming the number one concern for aging people – the onset of dementia and other brain diseases can not only impact quality of life, but also shorten it.
That’s why we’ve started the LifeScape Premier Healthy Brains Initiative. Whether you’re young, or just young at heart, here are some basic steps you can take for a healthier brain and a potentially longer lifespan.
Improve Brain Health and Extend Your Life with These Simple Steps
Our LifeScape team has studied and implemented the Bredeson functional medicine protocol for preserving brain health for many of our patients. This protocol has proven to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s and mild cognitive impairment patients for over four years.
We deployed cognitive screening as soon as we understood that a large percentage of dementia is truly preventable or reversible. Bredeson’s protocol, which drastically outperforms every drug approved for Alzheimer’s, is relatively simple overall.
Here are the nine essential elements the protocol recommends for achieving a healthier brain:
1. Eat a healthy diet.
Eat an organic plant-based, whole food diet that’s rich in healthy fats. Avoid refined and processed foods, sugars, and gluten grains.
2. Limit tobacco and alcohol use.
Avoid ANY tobacco and abstain from or limit alcohol to less than 1 drink per day for women and less than 2 drinks per day for men. Remember that alcohol is a potent nerve toxin, not a brain food.
3. Exercise your body.
Engage in regular exercise every day
4. Take care of your teeth.
Practice rigorous oral hygiene with brushing and flossing, but avoid mouthwash.
5. Take deep breaths.
Practice daily deep breathing, meditation, prayer, or mindfulness.
6. Count sheep.
Sleep is when the brain clears toxins. Getting 8 hours of healthy, unmedicated sleep is critical to brain health. Keep in mind that drinking alcohol disrupts sleep. Follow healthy sleep hygiene and treat sleep apnea if you have it. Also be sure to stop eating at least 3 hours before going to bed.
7. Get your nutrients.
Evaluate and treat nutrient deficiencies critical to brain health (including omega 3, coQ10, magnesium, B-complex, vitamin D3, lipoic acid, glutathione, etc). Have a doctor test you for vitamin deficiency and tell you which vitamins to take in addition to your food intake.
8. Stabilize those hormones.
Evaluate and treat hormone disorders if lifestyle changes fail to correct them automatically. However, fixing diet, sleep, exercise and nutrient deficiencies usually corrects hormones over time.
9. Avoid certain drugs.
Avoid drugs associated with dementia risk including benzodiazepine anxiety meds (valium, Ativan, alprazolam increase risk by 32% if taken for 3 – 6 months and by 84% if taken for more than 6 months). Also avoid anticholinergic medicines (including sedating antihistamines, sleep meds including Tylenol PM, certain antidepressants, and medicines for overactive bladder).
Treasure your brain.
After losing people we care about to dementia, many of us are highly motivated to prevent anyone from outliving their brain. A brain is truly a terrible thing to waste, yet we sadly often don’t attend to brain health until too late.
A significant percentage of dementia can be averted simply by practicing healthy lifestyle choices – you have more control than you think over whether or not you outlive your brain. Although you can start repairing your brain at any age, the earlier in life you begin to treasure your brain, the better.
By following these steps, not only will you improve the health of your brain, but you could also potentially add 10 years to your life expectancy. Treating your brain with care and focusing on your overall well-being are habits that should be formed now. Don’t wait – get on track with these tips and take care of your health today.
Looking to improve your brain health? Do want to finally have a healthier lifestyle? Book a Consultation with Lifescape Premier today!
DeGage SB, et al. “Benzodiazepine use and risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Case-control study,” BMJ (Sept. 9, 2014), Vol. 351, published online; Salahudeen MS et al. “Anticholinergic burden quantified by anticholinergic risk scales and adverse outcomes in older people: A systematic review,” BMC Geriatrics (March 15, 2015), Vol.15, No.31, published online.