While we grow and mature, the brain creates the strongest cognitive foundation possible for full function. Then we add a good education, strong upbringing, and high values and morals to sweeten the cognition pot, thus strengthening brain function all the more.
Many houses have strong foundations. Mine, built in 1908, has survived a flood and a Category 5 hurricane, as well as a medley of other typhoons of varying degrees, an indication that my home has strong bones. However, in spite of its sturdy foundation, I cannot just leave it alone as it seemingly rots and deteriorates before my very eyes.
A responsible homeowner stays on top of maintenance and routine repairs, and they catch problems early, so they do not turn into financial disasters. Ultimately, wise home ownership is an investment of attention, time, and effort to keep the house sturdy and standing proud, functioning at its best, for as long as possible. It is the same with the brain; it does us little good to let it sit atop our shoulders and become brittle and old, left to rot away.
Like deterioration in a home, deterioration in the brain begins slowly. “When people start to have loss of focus and concentration, motivation, and depression; when they have difficulty sleeping, [experience] inefficiency in the work they do, and have problems with completing tasks; and timelining…remembering projects, those are all serious red flags,” explains Dr. Datis Kharrazian. At first, we may not pay much attention to forgetting words or names or losing our grasp on instant recall. We dismiss the fact that we feel tired all the time and struggle to get eight hours of sleep nightly. Our joints and muscles ache, yet we just slap the air and tell ourselves, “It’s hell getting old.”
Dr. Datis Kharrazian is a Harvard Medical School research scholar, associate clinical professor of preventative medicine, fellow of the American College of Nutrition, and author of Why Isn’t My Brain Working? He says this overlooking, the idea of waiting for more serious signs, is the biggest mistake his patients make.
Without proper maintenance and no minor repair work, the supportive cells that keep our neurons in check get mad, go crazy, and eat each other up. Once this hyperinflammation becomes a problem, it isn’t too long before dementia sets in. The neurons that carry our thoughts and memories begin to shrivel and pull away, and we no longer create proper, healthy, sufficient neurotransmitters. These messages of action and renewal travel to and from the brain neurons to the gut neurons and, ultimately, to and from various body organs, to instigate proper thought and action: Doctor’s appointment tomorrow. I need to get up early to get my power walk in. I need to get list of medicines and supplements ready. Wait. What is that nurse’s name again? Is there gas in the car? Oh, what am I going to wear?
Instead of creating new, healthy, energetic cells that would efficiently spur our thoughts and keep the body rolling along, we can only muster weak, limp cells. In other words, cell renewal in the brain and body is no longer strong and vibrant. Consequently, the brain and body slowly rots away. Some people nonchalantly write this off as aging, but what is really happening is deterioration.
The good news is that you can renew your cells to be stronger and more vibrant. Over time, you can grow stronger and younger, as stated by authors Dr. Henry “Harry” Lodge and his patient Chris Crowley in their national bestseller, Younger Next Year.
Of course our hair will turn gray, and our skin will sag and wrinkle with the passing of time, but we can strengthen the muscles, heart, and brain. In fact, Dr. Lodge and Crowley contend that these can be even better, even younger, than before!
At 79, Harriet Anderson is the oldest woman to finish an ironman. Montserrat Mecho boasts outstanding achievements and athletic prowess as an 80-year-old skydiver, windsurfer, skier, diver, and swimmer. Jack Weil has found success in another arena; at 107 years old, he is the CEO of a Western clothing company.
How did these awe-inspiring people do it? It doesn’t always require going back to business school or hiring an athletic trainer to accomplish these amazing feats. They first improved their brains.
And they did that in 4 ways, ways you can employ to keep your brain young.
- They grew strong, vibrant brain cells by aerobically exercising 5 to 6 days a week.
- They created energetic, vivacious supporting cells for their brain neurons by accomplishing new tasks many times every day. These mental accomplishments varied from a new way to drive home to new way to foam roll an aching muscle to understanding a new charge on their credit card statement.
- They created beefy, spirited neurotransmitters to communicate with the stomach and other organs in their body. This communication is called health. The majority of our neurotransmitters are created in our gut brain, not in our head brain. To create the correct neurotransmitters, you have to eat clean whole foods. A paleo or ketogenic diet is the way to do that.
- They continually repaired their brain through a healthy lifestyle, complete with purpose and responsibility.
What about you? You can carry your brain to better health. You can get back to that confident place where you rely on your instant recall and memory, where you always find your words and continuously know what is going on around you.
Start by finding out how young your brain really is with this quick 5 question brain quiz I created given here. Regardless of your score, the analysis will point you in the right direction to a healthier brain and help you keep it healthy. The bottom line is that you must maintain your brain health much like the way you maintain your home or anything else that is valuable and dear to you. Your quiz results will give you tools and point you in the right direction.
By taking the quiz you will be a member, for free, if you are not already, of The Brain Health Revolution where I will email you about two to three times a month tips, tid bits, guides and articles on how to have a healthy brain.
You’re on your way to good brain health! I look forward to communicating with you soon.
 The terms “head brain” and “your brains” are not typographical errors! We all have two brains, the head brain, which sits atop our shoulders, and the gut brain. The gut brain harbors more neurotransmitters than the head brain, and damage to the gut brain is a major factor in most diseases. For more information, read my article “We Are Starving Our Brains and Don’t Even Realize It.”
Have you read my ebooklet: 9 Signs You Are Experiencing Brain Drain and How to Keep Your Brain Fully Charged to Ward Off Dementia? Get it here.
For another link for the quiz, click here.
The purpose of this information is to convey knowledge. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition or to be a substitute for advice from your healthcare professional. Sincerely, I wish you and yours the very best in brain health. www.JanetRichPittman.com