Your brain is an important and complex part of your anatomy. It controls most body processes and is responsible for behavior, emotion, memory, and reasoning. Brain health is vital to almost everything you do. There are 3 layers of tissue between your skull and brain. They protect it and your spinal cord. Each part serves a specific function and works in unison with other parts. The 4 parts of the brain are:
This is at the base of your brain and connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord. It controls involuntary processes including heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and swallowing.
This is in the back of your brain and is responsible for balance, movement, and posture.
This is a collection of structures at the center of your brain that control memory and emotion.
This encompasses a major portion of your brain and is divided into right and left halves. The left half controls the right side of your body and the right half controls the left side of your body. Each half is subdivided into 4 lobes:
- The frontal lobes are responsible for emotions, problem solving, logical reasoning, concentration, and intelligence
- The parietal lobes are important to integrating sensory information, motor function, and spatial orientation
- The occipital lobes are responsible for speech and hearing. They help you to remember and understand language
Degenerative brain diseases can cause progressive damage to the parts of the brain that control mobility, cognition, and emotion. The damage may accumulate and increase over time. Dementia is the most common form of degenerative brain disease. The symptoms include:
- An inability to perform simple tasks
- Changes in personality
- Difficulty speaking and understanding language
- Trouble dealing with directions and numbers
Quick Brain Health Tips
There are several things you can do now to help maintain good brain health as you age. Some good suggestions are:
- Stay physically active
- Participate in mentally stimulating activities
- Reduce tension and stress in your life
- Eat a healthy low-cholesterol, low-fat and antioxidant-rich diet
- Treat any type of head injury seriously
- Get a yearly physical exam
- Avoid consuming illicit drugs and drink alcohol in moderation
A typical Mediterranean dietary plan that includes higher levels of fish, virgin olive oil, fruits and vegetables, and cereals has been found to be protective against age-related memory loss. Oxidative damage to brain cells is strongly correlated to Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It occurs as a result of metabolic reactions that release unstable molecules. The molecules attack the fats in cell membranes and other important cell structures. Your brain is very rich in fats that are vulnerable to oxidation. Certain nutrients, such as vitamins E and C, are antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals.
Stimulation vs Overindulgence
Brain stimulation can create new neural pathways and connections that you can draw from at a future time. According to research, people operate at a high level of sharp brain functioning throughout their lives by constantly challenging and stimulating their minds. The variety of stimulants that your brain receives can have a significant effect on its health. Multitasking, on the other hand, can be detrimental to your brain. According to a recent study, it can increase the production of the stress hormone cortisol as well as the fight-or-flight hormone adrenaline. Multitasking has also been found to create a dopamine-addiction feedback loop which rewards your brain for losing focus and searching for external stimulation.