For a long time, the established dogma was that the adult brain could no longer generate any new brain cells. It was said that one was born with a certain amount of brain cells and that by the age of 25 we would see a downhill trend in the brain function. Scientists have now recently discovered that in recent studies new brain cells can grow throughout our entire life with a balance of a healthy diet and regular exercise. The process is called Neurogenesis, which enhances our brain power (cognitive functions) and the ability to learn new things and to keep memory sharp.
Specifically, new brain cells grow in the Hippocampus, the region of the brain that is responsible for learning information storing long-term memories and regulating emotions. This has many different positive implications. Neurogenesis has been shown to slow or even help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s disease. It can both treat and prevent depression as well as help to reduce anxiety.
There are certain activities that can help you grow new brain cells, and they are not nearly as excruciating or tedious as you may think.
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Watching what you eat and practicing self-control at mealtimes could benefit more than just your waistline. Restricting your calories helps to elicit a stress response in the body and it stimulates the brain to grow new brain cells. However, calories need to be restricted by only twenty to thirty percent to reap these benefits. if you do not feel like restricting your calorie intake, as per a 2012 study sipping on green tea may have a similar effect. This is because green tea contains a substance called epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an antioxidant that helps to improve cognitive function through the generation of brain cells. This EGCG in green tea help to combat degenerative diseases and memory loss.
A 2008 report found that antioxidants in the tiny but powerful blueberries lead to changes in brain blood flow which helps not only to protect the brain cells but also leads to the formation of new ones. The blue color is due to anthocyanin, a flavonoid which has linked to neurogenesis and increased neuronal signaling in the brains memory areas.
Dark chocolates increase the longevity as well as boost your mood. Now it turns out that those delicious morsels of chocolatey goodness will also help you grow new neurons. This is because dark chocolate, like blueberries, contains flavonoids
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, avocados and fatty fish like tuna salmon herring and sardines increase our brain power by promoting the growth of neurons. Flaxseeds or flaxseed oil, chia seeds and walnuts are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids
Turmeric, this yellow spice help with neurogenesis. A study conducted relatively recently found that turmeric may contribute to the regeneration of a damaged brain and help with neurological disorders.
A 2010 study published in the online journal PLOS ONE found that sexual experience and other aerobic exercises help to promote neurogenesis in the hippocampus. This is particularly useful in older individuals as it has been reported that moderate exercise helps to improve the brain power (cognitive function) of people with dementia. Another 2014 study also found that individuals who regularly run throughout their lifetime are also less likely to develop dementia when they get older.
We can foster new brain cell growth through regular endurance exercises such as brisk walking and jogging. Jogging stimulates the production of a protein called FNDC5. In turn, FNDC5 stimulates the production of another protein in the brain called Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which stimulates the growth of new nerves and synapses. When your body is exposed to natural sunlight it produces vitamin D which also increases levels of BDNF in the brain and promotes neurogenesis.
Keep yourself engaged. Cognitive stimulation increases hippocampal neurogenesis. It means that you need to keep your brain engaged, learn new skills, interact with other people, travel, try new things and keep stepping outside of your comfort zone.
When you fast intermittent for you are mildly stressing your brain and it is likely that this leads to an increase in neurons, so you can search for food more efficiently.
As you can see there are lots of simple things you can do to grow new brain cells and increase your brain power. These simple habits are not only good for your brain but also a sign of healthy lifestyle.