Most people accept as fact that if you live long enough your brain will simply wear out. Like an old car that ends up on the scrap heap.
But this is not true!
Let me take you on a quick trip to Ikaria – a stunning Greek island with breathtaking scenery surrounded by turquoise-blue sea.
This little piece of paradise has drawn scientists’ attention because people here are some of the most long-lived in the world. They often live past 100, staying healthy, fit, and even have active sex lives well into their 90′s!
Heart disease and cancer are rare. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are unheard of. What’s their secret?
You won’t see Ikarians pounding the treadmill, popping anti-aging vitamins, or playing brain games.
You will see seniors still growing much of their own food and doing physical labor well into old age. No cushy retirement filled with luncheons, cruises, or golf for these folks!
They may eventually move in with family members, but they remain useful and are never shipped off to assisted living.
Their “secret” is that their lives have remained relatively untouched by “progress.” Turns out our modern lifestyle is no friend to our brains.
In the U.S., we’re getting sicker and fatter, and more of us are spending our “golden years” wasting away with dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Right now 1 out of 3 people die with one of these brain diseases. Every 68 seconds there’s a new case of Alzheimer’s.
With rising levels of anxiety, depression, insomnia, addictions, dementia, and Alzheimer’s, we’re clearly suffering from an epidemic of “broken brains”.
How Modern Life Affects Your Brain
There are powerful forces in the modern lifestyle working against your brain.
- The typical modern diet is loaded with sugar, unhealthy fats, and chemical additives known to kill brain cells. This diet has already led to epidemics of obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and now Alzheimer’s. Unhealthy food is sold everywhere with a surprising amount of it being sold in “health food” stores. Much of what is considered “healthy” – like whole wheat or canola oil – is flat out wrong. And some brain-essential nutrients, like omega-3 fatty acids, are virtually missing from our food supply!
- Our sedentary lifestyle is a brain-cell killer. Adequate physical activity is needed to form brain- derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – the brain chemical that stimulates production of new brain cells and neural connections. Lack of exercise literally means fewer brain cells.
- Watching TV or staring at a computer screen does not supply the mental stimulation the brain needs to rewire itself to create new neural connections. These activities are passive, not active. If they are your main form of entertainment, you are short-changing your brain. Activities like playing chess, learning a musical instrument, or creating any kind of art are more mentally stimulating.
- There’s an epidemic of insomnia and sleep disorders, but it’s during sleep that the brain repairs itself and washes out debris. Even one night of poor sleep and your brain misses its chance to rejuvenate and consolidate memories.
- The chronic stress of daily life measurably changes the structure and function of your brain. The part that retains memories (the hippocampus) shrinks, while the part where fear and anxiety reside (the amygdala) grows.
- We live in a toxic environment. There are over 80,000 man-made chemicals and few have been tested for safety. Additives in our food, pollution in our air, and toxins in our water have been shown to lower IQ, kill brain cells, and contribute to Alzheimer’s.
- Electromagnetic frequencies emanating from your computer and mobile phone fry your brain. EMFs can rupture delicate brain cell membranes causing them to leak.
- Dozens of categories of recreational, over-the-counter, and prescription drugs cause memory loss, brain fog, and mental confusion. Drug interactions can cause dementia and even Alzheimer’s. Board-certified geriatric pharmacist Aarmon Neel, author of “Are Your Prescriptions Killing You?”, contends that as many as 3 out of 4 Alzheimer’s cases could be caused by drug interactions. This is shocking!
When you consider everything our brains are up against, it’s a wonder that most of us think as well as we do!
If you are concerned about the state of your brain and quality of your thinking now or in the future, learn how to take care of your brain. Because when your brain works right, your whole life gets better.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Deane Alban holds a bachelor’s degree in biology and has taught and written on a wide variety of natural health topics for over 20 years. She teaches the best ways to stay mentally sharp for life at her website BeBrainFit.com. Learn how to protect your brain and optimize your brainpower – sign up for her free e-course 21 Days to a Brighter Brain here.