Did you know that factors that appear to be indirectly related to your brain can, in fact, directly affect the function of your most vital organ?
Studies have shown that everyday habits like not eating the right foods or not talking enough can affect your brain in the long term.
Here are five everyday habits that are bad for your brain:
1. Not Eating Breakfast
Not eating breakfast leads to low blood sugar, this means your brain will have insufficient nutrients to function, which in turn can lead to brain degeneration. This is especially important for children between the ages of four and ten, who have double the brain glucose metabolism compared to adults. Between 20-30% of children and adolescents skip breakfast in the developed world, missing the cognitive benefits eating breakfast has.
Eating too much causes your brain arteries to harden, which can lead to a decrease in mental power. What’s more, the more you eat the more your brain becomes addicted to food, without feeling the same pleasure you originally felt from overeating. According to a study in the Journal Annuals of Neurology, excess fat in your body may play a role in reducing the size of your brain. Extra fat releases unique hormones which have a different impact on the body than the usual fat in your body, and having a smaller brain can increase the risk of dementia.
3. Eating Too Much Sugar
If you have too much sugar in your body it will interrupt the absorption of essential proteins and nutrients. This can lead to malnutrition, which can interfere with brain development. According to research, diets high in added sugar (unnatural sugar) reduce the production of a brain chemical called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF). People with low BDNF find it more difficult to form memories and learn. Low BDNF also contributes to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 Diabetes, so make sure you cut back on unnecessary sugars to sustain a healthy brain.
4. Air Pollution
Your brain is the largest consumer of oxygen in your body, and inhaling polluted air stops the supply of pure oxygen to your brain, therefore decreasing brain efficiency. Caused by the fumes given off by things such as power plants, factories, cars and trucks, research at the University of Michigan’s School of Natural Resources, and other respected studies, has shown this type of pollution has a negative effect and can cause cognitive decline on people exposed. Being active about helping to reduce air pollution will help more than just the environment.
5. Not Talking Enough
If you don’t talk a lot you there is a chance you will lose some of your brain function. By having intellectual conversations and talking a lot with friends and family, you receive great cognitive benefits. Interacting with others is the best kind of brain exercise you can do, and it’s the most simple. Studies at Harvard School of Public Health found that those people with active social lives had the slowest rate of memory decline. So get out there and get chatting, and if that doesn’t work you can always talk to your pet – that works too!
By Charlotte H.