6 Unhealthy Brain Influences to Avoid for Optimal Health & Longevity
Today, I want to share with you several unhealthy brain influences that you actually have more control over than you might realize in the overall state of your mental health and the health of your brain and its functionality. So, I’m super excited to share with you these items.
1. Not Getting Enough Sleep
Number one, and most important for your brain is sleep. So, if you are dealing with irregular sleep patterns, insomnia, maybe you’re a shift worker, and so you’re not sleeping at the kind of normal time of sleeping, and you’re getting less than seven and less than eight hours of sleep each night – that solid, continuous, good, deep sleep – then that influence of irregular, imbalanced sleep has a deep, deep negative effect on the state of your brain health. And in fact, about five or six years ago, researchers identified that when we sleep, and we sleep solidly throughout the night, that actually triggers and engages the lymphatic process of your brain.
And we call that lymphatic process the glymphatic process. And your glymphatic process is the only time your brain is detoxing and cleaning out cells that are no longer serving it. It’s getting rid of inflammation, and it’s processing out that toxicity.
So, think of the glymphatic system as the nighttime cleaners in an office. So, when we work at normal offices and we go home during the day, there’s usually a shift that comes in and cleans and gets everything ready so it’s nice and clean. All of the waste baskets are cleaned, and you’re ready to have a clean work environment the next morning. The brain does that.
And so, by sleeping optimally and starting your sleep process around 9:00 and 10:00 PM, that helps trigger melatonin production, and it helps trigger other sleep-related biochemistry that helps to enhance the glymphatic process. So, that’s really, really important. And that’s number one. If you’re not sleeping well, that’s the first sign of an unhealthy brain state.
2. Too Much Stress
The second item that tends to be a negative influence in the state of your brain health is stress, especially chronic stress. Acute stress and chronic stress, these collectively are detrimental to your brain health.
Stress, especially cortisol, the stress hormone, is an inflammatory hormone. It causes brain-oriented inflammation. It also changes our biochemistry and our neurotransmitters. Those are neuroendocrine hormones that it’s all happening up here in the brain and sending signals and communication down to organs and glands and soft tissue. And stress can cause brain imbalances.
And just think about your own life. If you’ve had a stressful event over a course of weeks or even a few years, that can influence your mood. It can influence your reproductive hormones. It can influence your digestive process. So, stress is very much at play when we’re looking at unhealthy influences on our brain health.
3. Unhealthy Diet Lacking in Key Nutrients & Proper Hydration
Now, the third, most obvious is going to be what you’re consuming. What are you eating, your diet? This includes your liquid diet, so, making sure you’re staying well hydrated, avoiding caffeine, and avoiding alcohol, and things that are dehydrating. And also consuming healthy fats and omegas, and eating a rainbow of micronutrients.
These mushrooms we actually encapsulate here in our 7 Mushrooms. If you’re like, “Can’t stomach the mushrooms,” I get it, or cannot find them in your supermarkets, you can use 7 Mushrooms and encapsulate those mushrooms. But adding mushrooms to your diet is also going to be critical. Mushrooms like chaga is also an anti-inflammatory and it’s an adaptogen.
So, there’s a lot of power in supporting your brain via your diet, and that’s really important, too. Making sure you’re getting good, healthy multi-minerals. Eating nuts and seeds are going to deliver really key nutrients like magnesium and selenium and chromium – all powerful for helping balance blood sugar, which supports our brain health.
4. Not Getting the Right Exercise
Now, fourth on my list here is to exercise. That’s really important for functional brain health and improving circulation and blood flow and triggering that glymphatic process at night. But importantly, the type of exercise that you’re partaking has a powerful influence.
Exercises that combine balancing activities are going to be the most ideal, as well as rebounding. I love rebounding. It’s great for your lymphatic process, which in turn helps enhance that glymphatic flow. But making sure you’re doing things that are balancing – so, lifting weights on one foot versus two adds another element of muscle control, but also invigorates the brain.
So, if you are not exercising in a way that is kind of pushing the envelope and you’re doing balancing exercises on top of that – yoga and Pilates are great for that, as are stable exercises where you’re working on one foot and then alternating. Even doing pushups with one hand or alternating. Those are all great for enhancing your brain function. So, if you’re not doing that, that’s an unhealthy influence.
5. Exposure to Toxins
Now, the other element that many folks are aware of, but sometimes aren’t tuned in to in terms of just how pervasive these are, but an unhealthy brain influence are toxins in our everyday environment. These toxins range from perfumes to heavy metals that affect our brain and our nervous system. Pesticides. These are things that we’re using in our homes, we’re using them outside of our homes. We might be consuming them in the foods, the healthy diet, even organic foods tend to be dense in pesticides, depending on the type of plant and its exposure.
As well as our air pollution. Depending on where you live, I happen to live in a city, a metroplex that is on the higher side of poor air quality. So, we can have harmful chemicals that we’re breathing in our air, at our home, in our work environment, outside.
And then also in this category are going to be illegal drugs and alcohol and even certain medications. Pharmaceutical medications are going to fall into this category, because some of them will negatively impact our brain function by way of some of the particular synapses and blocking things that they do in our brain. So that’s really, really important.
6. Continuing Unhealthy Habits That Overwhelm the Brain
And then the last and final is to really avoid unhealthy habits like excessive caffeine consumption, excessive alcohol consumption, and excessive smoking or drug use. So, just be cognizant that if you’re having a glass of wine here or there, that’s not as overwhelming as say, a full bottle of wine or a half bottle of wine or a six-pack of beer.
These influences, especially smoking, they not only bring in overwhelming chemicals, but they can dehydrate the brain and overwhelm the brain in toxic chemicals that we have to make sure the brain is detoxing out.
And I also pull in this category, the diet-related products. This is something that a lot of folks, especially folks going keto, we are seeing alternative sugar sources overwhelming the brain. Particularly, the hypothalamus has a really, really hard time processing out aspartame. So, the Diet Cokes, diet sodas, sugar-free products – read your labels, be very cognizant of what you’re putting in your body, and it has a direct influence, sometimes negatively, on your brain health.
So, I hope these tips are helpful. Just really want to encourage you to be mindful of taking care of your brain, and it will take care of you for the extent of your entire life.