Happy 2019! We are now more than a week into the New Year. How are your New Year’s resolutions coming along?
With resolutions on the brain, we’ve decided to dedicate a whole blog to them and share how the most common New Year’s resolutions improve your brain health — in case you needed some motivation or another reason to keep them.
Top New Year’s Resolutions
- Eat Healthier
- Exercise More
- Quit Smoking
- Drink Less
- Learn A New Skill
Do any of these New Year’s resolutions sound familiar? These resolutions seem to be popular year after year. However, when individuals set these goals to eat better food, join the gym, stop unhealthy habits, and pursue new skills and hobbies, their brain health is most likely not their main motivator — but it is a great advantage. Keep reading to learn how each of these resolutions impacts your brain health.
The types of food you eat have a significant effect on your brain — both mentally and physically. Some foods, such as blueberries and dark green vegetables, help protect your brain from damage, while others, such as nuts and eggs, provide your brain with nutrients for optimal development and functionality. Overall, eating healthier has been proven to enhance your mood and mental health.
While many people get gym memberships and amp up their workouts in January in hopes of shedding the pounds they gained over the holidays, increased exercise also has proven effects on brain health. Exercise, especially aerobic exercise, pumps more oxygen to your brain, stimulates new brain cells, releases hormones, and ultimately improves the way your brain functions.
Did you know that nicotine actually changes your brain? Nicotine activates receptors in your brain that make you feel good, which is the main cause for nicotine addiction. The more you smoke, the more these receptors grow, which can make quitting smoking very difficult. Nicotine also affects the brain by increasing adrenaline. This can cause increased heart rate, blood pressure, and restricted blood flow to the heart. Once you stop smoking, however, your nicotine receptors will decrease and your brain will eventually return to normal.
While an alcoholic beverage can be a nice treat at the end of a long day, a wonderful meal pairing, and a great social experience, drinking too much regularly can have a significant negative effect on your brain health. Drinking heavily on a regular basis can actually shrink your brain, speed up memory loss, and cause brain damage. Drinking in moderation, if at all, is key for good brain health.
Learning A New Skill
Learning something new is fun and it’s great for your brain health. When you continuously learn new skills, you increase the amount of myelin (white matter) in your brain, which helps improve your performance and helps you learn things faster. Learning new skills also prevents your brain from demyelinating, which has been linked to dementia. Learning new skills will keep your brain sharp!
Are you interested in learning more about how your brain functions? Schedule a qEEG brain mapping consultation at one of our Denver, Boulder, or Fort Collins NeurOptimize locations.