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Modern life is very taxing on our brains. We’re constantly required to multitask, remember things, concentrate, and communicate. We are submitted to a barrage of stimulation from all manner of sources, especially now with TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones. So it’s even more important that we keep our brains in top condition.
The most recently developed part of our brain, the cerebral cortex, plays a major part in memory and cognition. Its normal function is dependent on multiple interlinking factors, many of which may be influenced by nutritional factors. Neurotransmitters, chemicals that help our nerve cells communicate, such acetylcholine, glutamate and dopamine are required for memory, stimulation and motivation respectively. These chemicals require raw nutritional ‘materials’ including choline, amino acids and B vitamins to be made. The structure of the nerve cells themselves relies on fatty substances like essential fats and phospholipids for the function of the cell membranes so they can be fired in response to neurotransmitters efficiently.Good blood circulation, along with good antioxidant status, are also vital to maintaining healthy brain structure and function.
Lifestyle factors also play a key role. Stress has been identified as a factor in cognitive decline, while anxiety levels have been linked to the progression of mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer’s disease.Maintaining a social life and staying physically active is associated with continued cognitive health, whereas social isolation and loneliness have been identified as risk factors for decline.
How can we protect our nerves?
Luckily there is plenty of potential to nourish our brains and offer it better protection and support.
Key nutrients have a pivotal role in this, including:
Lifestyle changes can also have a powerful impact:
We’re totally dependent on our nervous system to link us to the outside world. By optimising our diet and lifestyle we can boost its function, resulting in healthier interactions and engagement with our environment, supporting our senses, thinking, planning and remembering.
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