Your brain operates electrically and chemically. Neurochemicals form the dynamic foundation for our thoughts and emotions. Many neurochemicals have been identified while many more have not. Neurochemicals important to mood include Serotonin, Neuropinephrine, Neuroadrenaline, and Dopamine. These neurochemicals remain in healthy balance for most of us, but for some there is imbalance and a mood disorder can result.
Effects of a mood disorder such as depression or mania include functional decline, interpersonal difficulty, and cognitive impairment. Depression is far more common than realized and represents a major chronic illness similar to high blood pressure. Depression not only affects the specific person, but it can also affect negatively those close to the patient and to potential colleagues. Depression and mania impairs thinking by reducing focus, attention, memory, and ability to execute plans. A depressed brain cannot process as deeply as necessary and this can result in rather significant cognitive impairment at times. Uncontrolled mania results in high distractibility, poor attention, and generally impaired cognitive functions across the board.
Treatments for mood disorder are effective and include use of antidepressants, mood stabilizers for mania, psychotherapy, and following a brain health lifestyle as espoused by Dr. Nussbaum (www.paulnussbaum.com). Use of software similar to that of FitBrains that helps to stimulate mental activity can also be of some use for a brain that may be sluggish. The most important thing is to first identify depression when it arises, take it seriously, and get some help.
Walk between 7,000 and 12,000 steps daily. Walking several times a week reduces the risk of dementia.
Buy yourself a pedometer to remind yourself to walk and to keep track of your daily steps.
Dance as this is a behavior that reduces the risk of dementia.
Garden and Knitting reduce the risk of dementia.
Aerobic exercise will help the heart and thereby feed the brain with the necessary blood and oxygen. It also promotes cognitive functioning such as memory and is now believed to relate to positive structural changes in the brain.
Use both sides of your body more often: Become ambidextrous.
Eat 80% of what you intend to eat at each meal. Reasonable caloric restriction can increase your longevity.
Eat with utensils and you will eat less and also eat healthier foods.
Increase your intake of Omega 3 fatty acids. This includes fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, and herring. Several ounces of salmon weekly reduce the risk of dementia. Walnuts and unsalted nuts are also good for you.
Increase your intake of antioxidants. This includes Vitamins C and E. Colored fruits (grapes, apples, cantaloupe, and berries) and vegetables are good for you. The FDA recommends five servings of fruit and vegetables a day.
Decrease your intake of processed foods and red meats. Lean meat such as chicken breast without skin is relatively okay.
Green leafy vegetables are good for you.
Eat one sit down meal with others a day. This activity provides many brain boosting effects at once (classic music, language, eating with utensils, slowing down, eating healthier foods).
Hello and welcome to the first official Fit Brains’ blog! Let me introduce myself. I am Michael Cole, the founder and CEO of Vivity Labs, creator of Fit Brains.
Fit Brains is developing a web experience that will be the first of its kind, appealing to adults of all ages and will elevate the concept and acceptance of brain fitness to the mainstream. We will do this through a unique combination of interactive brain games, personalization tools and community features. Our team understands that the key ingredient for mass adoption of brain fitness will be the “fun factor”, and is developing scientifically based workouts that are engaging and fun.
Among other topics, the Fit Brains blog will discuss recent brain health news, allowing our readers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. In addition, guest bloggers who are experts in their respective fields, will contribute to the discussions.
We are starting off the Fit Brains Brain Health blog with some good news. Some food items that we actually do like might be good for us and not the reverse. In a recent study published in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers believe it may be possible to boost memory. The article states:
“It may be possible to boost memory with a plant compound called epicatechin, which is found in foods and drinks including blueberries, grapes, tea, and cocoa”.