People often get into destructive habits and don't even know it. Many bad habits can wreak havoc on your brain's health over time. Most people know how to nourish their bodies but not their mind. Some things affect brain health that often go overlooked such as your emotional and mental well-being. Exploring ways to support your brain better will ensure optimal health in the long term.
What Habits Are Bad For Your Brain?
Your body's health and well-being are important to your brain as they all work together to balance one another. Sleep is a major contributor to your brain's health. Lack of sleep can create issues within the brain, such as a decreased attention span, memory damage, and adrenal fatigue. If your body is always on and never has time to rest and recover your body will slowly burn out.
Your immune function slowly starts to decline with a lack of sleep as well. During sleep, your body initiates your cleaning mechanisms which are hard at work, ridding your body from toxic by-products that accumulate in your brain throughout your day. When you do not get enough sleep these mechanisms are not engaged long enough to remove these harmful substances.
The accumulation of these substances in your brain can lead to severe damage in your brain and throughout your whole body. Some researchers equate lack of sleep to being intoxicated and suggest that getting 5 hours or less of sleep equals 4-5 drinks of alcohol. The brain impairment from lack of sleep is severe and will affect your bodily functions almost immediately. Over time, lack of sleep begins to affect every organ in your body. Sleep deprivation can influence your mental and emotional health drastically. It causes your stress response to be in fight or flight mode more often, which rewires your brain to try and overcompensate.
Proper Diet Is Important
Your diet can also lead to bad habits that cause a deterioration in brain health. Eating a diet high in sodium has led to issues in the brain. High sodium diets can lead to high blood pressure, increasing your risk of having a stroke. Diets high in sugar can also lead to issues in the brain such as memory loss, sugar addiction, dementia, and Alzheimer's disease. Sugar and salt cause inflammation in the brain, which is the root cause of every disease that starts in the body. Eating a nutrient-rich diet loaded with fresh fruits and vegetables along with consistent physical activity will help combat these potential bad habits that negatively affect the brain.
What are the 7 Worst Bad Habits You Can Have?
Making a habit of not taking care of yourself will quickly affect your health and, over time, your brain. Below are 7 worst habits for your brain and body:
- A diet high In sugar - Sugary drinks, candies, and saturated fatty foods like donuts and cakes can cause inflammation in the brain, leading to a greater chance of developing dementia and other diseases.
- Hearing impairment - Certain studies suggest that your hearing ability is linked closely to your brain health. Not only are our brains constantly overstimulated with devices, tv shows, music, concerts, loud mechanical noises etc. but our ears are tapped out as well. People with hearing loss are 2x as more likely to develop dementia.
- Loneliness - People later in life usually report feeling a greater sense of loneliness as their children grow up and leave the house. Friends, family, and partners sometimes pass away, leaving them alone, affecting their social development. A lack of social interaction combined with hopelessness and loneliness increases the likelihood of developing dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
- Negative thinking - Chronically thinking the glass is half empty can do a lot more than just bum you out. Over time this way of thinking changes your brain. Grudge-holding, pessimistic thinking has been linked to cognitive decline and memory functions in people 55 years and older.
- You don't deal with your stress well - This can affect anyone's health at any age but results in real memory and cognition malfunction when you are older. Getting a good handle on managing your stress in healthy ways will help you create habits you will have to protect you when you are older.
- Certain over-the-counter medications can injure your brain - Habitually taking over-the-counter antihistamines have been linked to a deterioration in brain health as well as certain antidepressant and mood disorder medication.
- Alcohol and drug use - Alcohol and drug use have long been known to cause brain damage and kidney damage. Alcoholism and recreational drug use can result in brain damage or other diseases that continue to damage the body even long after you have stopped drinking or doing drugs.
What Bad Habits Quickly Drain Your Brain?
In addition to the bad habits mentioned previously, you can add inactivity to the list. Many people spend a good part of the day sitting. Sitting while driving, sitting at work, sitting on the couch watching tv, those hours accumulate into a lot of time spent sedentary. In most cases, the lack of being inactive and spent indoors drains your brain of key developmental functions.
Another habit that most people think challenges their brain but hinders it is multitasking. Multitasking is bad for our brains and negatively affects our productivity. Focusing on one task at one time is better for your brain as multitasking increases cortisol production, which is the stress hormone responsible for fight or flight scenarios. Mental fog and erratic thinking are usually the result of multitasking and should be avoided. When considering bad habits and your brain health, it's better to focus on beginning and completing a task before moving on to another. This process is more rewarding to your brain in more ways than one.
How Does Stress Affect Your Brain Health?
Most of us know that chronic stress negatively affects the body, but what about the brain specifically? Stress causes a multitude of physical, mental, and emotional effects throughout the body. Inside the part of the brain responsible for processing emotion called the amygdala. This command center for the brain initiates the body's fight or flight mechanisms in response to stress. Hormones are released throughout the body that helps you know what to do in these stressful situations.
If this response is activated too often and for too long, the body can begin to experience negative effects. Inside the brain, chronic stress can damage synapse regulation and reduce the size of the brain entirely. Stress has the ability to shrink the prefrontal cortex and increase the size of the amygdala which affects learning and memory. When considering stress and brain health, it's important to deal with your stress positively. Some people use exercise to relieve their stress through yoga, meditation, or cardio. Other people use artistic or creative ways to deal with their stress through dancing, drawing, or painting.
How Can I Protect My Brain?
If you are wondering how can I protect my brain? You can start by evaluating your health and lifestyle choices. Managing your stress is one of the best ways to protect your brain. Eating healthy food and cultivating healthy lifestyle habits is another way to protect your brain long term. Protecting your ears is very crucial to your brain health. Studies have shown that you are 30-40% more likely to experience cognitive deterioration if you also have hearing impairment of any kind.
Do Poor Brain Habits Increase My Chances of Dementia?
Poor brain habits absolutely increase chances of dementia and developing other degenerative diseases. In addition to the bad habits mentioned previously you can also add not stimulating your brain enough. Mental exercises help stimulate various parts in the brain that inhibit development in pathways that lead to increased risk for dementia and memory loss. Many people use brain games, memory exercises, games like chess and Rubik's cubes to help engage their brain daily in different ways.
Supplements That May Help
Brain health is so important to the overall health of your body, why not consider providing it with all the support you can? SpermidineLife has developed a groundbreaking supplement called Spermidine that helps to induce what is known as autophagy. Autophagy is your body's natural process of the cellular renewal and recycling of damaged cells. Spermidine is naturally occurring and can trigger autophagy without caloric restriction. Spermidine has been shown to aid the body in detoxification, decrease inflammation, and improve brain health.