Today, we are talking about the five foundations, particularly foundation #1, #3, and #4. Foundation #1 is all about maximizing brain health and function. Foundation #3 is about getting the right macro and micronutrients into your body on a regular basis. Foundation #4 is about optimizing the delivery of oxygen, nutrients, and blood to the body through exercise.
The human brain is one of the most complex objects in the universe. We are just scratching the surface in what we understand of it. W. Gray Walter was a famous neurophysiologist that studied the intricacies of the brain. He said that, to create a human brain, it would take over 10 billion electronic cells, 1.5 million cubic feet, several million more feet for the nerves(wiring), and one billion watts to operate it! Even if a brain was manufactured, mysteries remain about how information is coded, how memories are stored and retrieved, emotions, simulation of the future, sleep and dreams, intelligence levels, integration of the different parts of the brain working with each other, and a whole lot of other processes.
What we have been able to figure out is that the brain weighs about three pounds, containing nearly 100 billion cells. The human brain has from 10 billion to 100 billion neurons. Neurons are the basic working unit of the nervous system. Until recently, it was believed that we could not develop new neurons. New research says that, in one part of the brain, the hippocampus, this is indeed happening on a daily basis, even in adults.
How you take care of your body has a direct impact on your brain’s ability to produce new brain cells (neurogenesis) as discussed by neuroscientist-Sandrine Thuret. Sandrine Thuret gave her talk on the TED platform in June 2015. In the talk, she highlights how the adult brain, in fact, does create new brain cells in the hippocampus, at the rate of 700 neurons per day. That rate seems small when compared to the billions of brain cells present, but this is enough to exchange all neurons in the hippocampus for adult neurons by age 50.
The hippocampus, located in the center of the brain, plays a large part in learning, memory, mood, and emotion. Focusing on how to grow new neurons as we age requires people to be consistent in a few areas. Some daily activities like learning, aerobic activity, sex, and eating correctly will increase your ability to grow new neurons. Stress, sleep deprivation, increasing age, and eating poorly will decrease your brain’s ability to produce new neurons. Eat properly to maximize the growth of new neurons. Caloric restriction and intermittent fasting is optimal when focusing on brain health. Caloric restriction is a dietary regimen that reduces caloric intake without causing malnutrition or a reduction in essential nutrients. Calculate what your body needs in terms of macronutrients—proteins, fats, and carbohydrates—and stick to it. In the United States, food is readily available everywhere. Unfortunately, we select foods that are not always the best for us. Intermittent fasting is a type of scheduled eating plan where you restrict daily eating habits to between a six- to eight-hour window of time, without cutting calories.Choose foods that are high in Omega 3’s, like wild-caught salmon, chia seeds, and eggs from pasture- raised chickens. Consuming foods high in flavonoids, such as blueberries, dark chocolate, broccoli, kale, red onions, hot peppers, rutabaga, spinach, and watercress will help the brain to grow more neurons. Foods high in resveratrol will provide a great environment for growing brain cells. Foods high in resveratrol are raspberries, blueberries, pomegranates, and raw cacao. Get more exercise, eat whole foods, stress less, restrict calories, and eat in a defined timeframe of the day so that your body can do other things besides process food. Think of your body as your partner in getting things done. If you do not take care of your body, then you cannot take care of anyone. Give your body what it needs so it can take care of you. You have one body. You can’t go out and buy a new one once you have neglected it.If you are looking for a partner in regaining your health, or just want to maintain your health in a better way, please schedule an appointment with Friends and Family Health Centers by clicking here, our services include Chiropractic Care, Car Accident Injury Care, Nutritional Consultation, and Muscle Manipulation. This article is part of an ongoing series of articles based on the five foundations of health, written by Birmingham Chiropractor Dr. John Palmer of Friends and Family Health Centers.
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