Your brain is a vital organ just like your eyes or lungs. If you find that you struggle with concentration, memory, and problem-solving, you may not be taking care of this organ as you should. Just as your everyday habits affect the health of your other organs and muscles, these habits also affect your neurological health. Consider these five common mistakes that may be influencing the overall function of the brain itself.
1. Being Dehydrated
All of your vital organs need plenty of water in order to ensure healthy function. Water holds the vital nutrients that cells need in order to do their job, and these nutrients include vitamins and trace minerals. When you’re dehydrated, your brain’s cells actually hold fewer of these nutrients because of the lack of moisture.
Water also acts as a conductor for the electrical impulses necessary to brain function. Without enough water to ensure proper hydration, these electrical signals can slow down, leading to struggles with concentration, memory, and problem-solving. To make sure your brain works well, you need to drink 1.6-2 liters of water a day.
2. Not Getting Enough Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids help to fight inflammation; this can be very harmful to your brain as it interferes with the electrical connections that make up memory and thought processes. It’s believed that having a sufficient amount of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet can help to reduce your risk of dementia and memory loss as you get older.
3. Not Getting Enough Sleep
When you sleep, your mind rests along with your body. During the day, your brain constantly needs to take in sights, sounds, and other sensations, and is also working to concentrate, solve problems and make plans.
When you sleep, you don’t have so much sensory input and your conscious mind is inactive, so many areas of your brain slow down. In a sense, your brain rests when you sleep so it can be stronger for the next day. Sleep also allows the body to restore and repair all its cells, including the cells that make up the brain. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep every night is therefore important not just for your body’s health but for brain health as well.
4. Being Sedentary and Inactive
When you’re physically active, you increase your blood circulation. Blood brings with it all the nutrients you get from your digestive system, including vitamins, trace minerals and healing oxygen molecules. These nutrients also get delivered to your brain through your circulatory system.
If you don’t get enough physical activity and regularly remain sedentary, your blood circulation slows. Your muscles and organs don’t get fed the oxygen and other nutrients they need, and this includes your brain. Your brain is literally not being fed as it should be when you are inactive. However, the more active you are, the more your brain is fed and the healthier and stronger it will be.
Most people associate smoking with lung cancer and damage to the respiratory system, but smoking also damages brain cells–your blood stream circulates the nicotine and other poisons in cigarettes to every cell of the body.. When you smoke, these toxins are quickly absorbed into your blood and make their way to the cells of the brain. Smoking damages and kills healthy cells, so your brain may not function as well as it should.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned damage to your respiratory system results in less oxygen being delivered to those cells, so the brain is not being as healed and restored as it should be. Your arteries also harden and become constricted, compromising your circulatory system and further undermining brain function.
Keep these points in mind and remember that being healthy starts with your everyday habits, promoting a healthy brain as well as a healthy body!