Unhealthy lifestyle habits have a serious impact on brain health. Unhealthy brain function can lead to memory problems, stress, anxiety, depression and brain degeneration, but if we are aware of the daily practices that have a negative impact, we can make changes by adopting healthy habits that will make your brain healthier and also a boost. for overall health.
The Western Diet
The Western diet is based on an excess of sugar and unhealthy fats from processed foods. It is high in calories, but often devoid of essential nutrients. This diet is associated with obesity, as well as: altered brain function and behavior. Low-quality food choices increase the risk of cognitive impairment, stress, anxiety and depression.
In turn, chronic stress leads to unhealthy eating behavior, creating a vicious circle. The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a positive impact on cognition and may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. The Mediterranean diet includes foods rich in nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain health.
A sedentary life
Humans are designed to move and interact with the environment by staying active. A sedentary lifestyle causes cognitive dysfunction and impaired memory and increases the risk of anxiety and depression.
Sedentarism is also associated with being overweight, which negatively affects brain health by: increasing brain inflammation and degeneration. A combination of strength training and aerobic exercise is generally considered best for brain health.
Not enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep is a major risk factor for brain dysfunction. Sleep deprivation leads to cognitive impairment. Mood becomes more volatile and intense reactions such as excessive irritability and anger are common in people who have trouble falling or staying asleep. Both the quality and quantity of sleep are important.
Stress is associated with poor sleep, an increased risk of anxiety and depression, poor memory and mental fatigue. Simply put, stress literally changes the brain. In the case of severe stress associated with post-traumatic stress disorder, studies have shown that these emotions can lead to: changes in brain structure and the balance between white and gray matter.
Difficulty walking, memory loss, slurred speech, vision problems, slowed reaction times are all the result of excessive alcohol consumption and confirm its negative impact on brain health. Those who drink for a long time experience severe and persistent changes in the brain.
Brain damage results from direct toxic effects on the brain and indirectly from poor general health, liver disease and other digestive problems that also result from consuming too much alcohol.
Tobacco smoke contains thousands of compounds, including heavy metals, which are toxic to the brain, and nicotine, which causes addiction. Tobacco use is associated with: early cognitive decline and inflammation and premature aging of the brain.
Cannabis can have a negative effect on attention, memory, learning, ability to make decisions, and emotions. The impact of this herb on the brain depends on several factors, including how often it is used, the age of the user, and whether it is used in combination with tobacco and alcohol. If cannabis is used for medicinal purposes, it should be used according to the doctor’s recommendations.
Lack of social support
Strong social ties correlate with a reduced risk of dementia, depression and anxiety, a general sense of well-being and even longer life expectancy. In addition, having a good support system can help lower blood pressure in people with hypertension, another risk factor for certain brain disorders. According to experts from Harvard, hypertension in middle age increases the risk of cognitive decline later on.
Digital technology can have both negative and positive effects on brain function and behavior. Spent too much time in front of the screen can worsen symptoms of ADHD, cause negative emotions, Reduce social intelligence, disrupt sleep and create social isolation.
However, some brain exercise video games and apps are made to boost memory, multitasking, and cognition, and help manage ADHD, depression, and Alzheimer’s disease. Proper use of digital products can also relieve stress.
Living in clutter at home or in the office causes stress, impaired concentration and concentration and poorer mental health. In addition, living in a chaotic environment increases stress and emotional eating, especially overconsumption of cookies and snacks.
A clean, uncluttered environment is essential for ‘mental hygiene’. It helps improve productivity and sense of well-being. Aim to keep your entire house – including the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – tidy.
The solutions are very simple, although together they can feel a lot. Strive to make the necessary changes gradually and notice the positive benefits that come from it!
- Switch from a Western diet filled with fast foods and candy bars to nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, and omega-3-rich fish and oils.
- Move your body for 40 to 60 minutes most days of the week.
- Get 7 to 9 hours of good quality sleep every night.
- Avoid spending too much time in front of the screen.
- Tidy up your home and workspace.
- Practice mindfulness meditation for stress reduction.
- Avoid smoking, drinking excessively.
- Find time to spend with loved ones or try to build your support structure.