By Mark Lundegren
We all understand that healthy living leads to healthy bodies, to increased longevity, and to reduced chronic health risks…even as many of us do not adequately, or optimally, act on these essential facts of life.
On the other hand, a great many of us have not yet come to terms with the reality that this same natural relationship between lifestyle and physical health applies to brain health as well – and to all of our brain’s critical functions, including memory, cognition, creativity, and emotion.
Sections of a Healthy Brain, Left, and One With Advanced Degeneration
Often, we treat our brains – that is, ourselves – as relatively unchanging and largely unaffected by reduced physical health, even as this widespread intuition is measurably untrue.
In fact, reduced physical health is almost always accompanied by lowered cognitive and emotional functioning, circularly restraining our self-awareness and motivation and keeping us at reduced overall states of health. The practical effect of this health-limiting cycle is to prevent us from seeing our life in more vital and expansive terms, and thus from intentionally pursuing new growth and progressive life.
Recent Brain Health Research
A trio of recent research studies highlight the importance of making the crucial link between our lifestyle and metal health, and underscore our need to take deliberate steps to promote a healthy body and brain throughout our modern lives.
In the first study, published in the British Medical Journal and picked up broadly by the health press, researchers from France and Great Britain examined roughly 7,000 men and women from a large and ongoing long-term study of British civil servants. Based on participant tests at the start, middle, and end of the 10-year observation period, the researchers concluded that cognitive declines can and today commonly do begin in our 40’s. This mid-life onset of reduced brain functioning is much earlier than was suggested by prior research or is widely appreciated today.
Fortunately, two other recent brain health studies suggest that this perhaps typical pattern of cognitive decline during middle adult life, just like accelerated neurological reductions in later life, can be substantially offset or reduced by our preventative adoption of a health-centered lifestyle, one that begins as early as possible and is actively maintained throughout our lives.
The second of our studies, led by researchers at the Oregon Health & Science University, examined the blood chemistry and cognitive functioning of roughly 100 older people, notably all of whom were non-smokers and free of significant health complaints. In the study, the researchers also did scans to measure brain volume of about half the group. Overall, the team found that participants with high circulating levels of vitamins and health-essential chemicals – notably vitamins B, C, D and E, and omega-3 fatty acids – and with low amounts of circulating trans-fats scored best on the tests and had the least observable amounts of aging-related brain degeneration.
We would underscore that further research in this particular area is needed, due to the small size and observational nature of the study, but since these nutrients are reliable markers of both a healthy diet and the strong uptake (via physical health) of essential natural nutrients, they are suggestive of the power a health-centered lifestyle can have in maintaining brain volume and assuring healthy brain functioning throughout our lives – even when we are well into elderhood.
The third study we want to highlight examined the effect of physical activity and exercise on brain health in older people. In this research, conducted by Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, approximately 700 adults were monitored for their amount and intensity of physical activity over a ten-day period, using a measuring device resembling a pedometer that was worn on the wrist.
During the study’s multi-year follow-up period, participants initially observed to have much lower amounts of activity were more than twice as likely to have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease than those who were among the most active in the initial measurement period. There’s more. When the comparison was changed to measured activity intensity (a proxy for exercise), the ratio of Alzheimer’s onset was nearly 3:1. These results strongly underscore the importance of maintaining an active lifestyle generally, and specifically of assuring lifelong natural conditioning via daily exercise, if we are to ensure brain health.
Taking Action Today
If you are ready to take definitive steps starting today to improve your total physical health, now and throughout your life, you can begin to progressively reduce or eliminate all of your threats to lifelong neurological and psychological health through HumanaNatura’s four science-based natural health techniques – Natural Eating, Natural Exercise, Natural Living, and Natural Communities.
Together, these four crucial techniques form the core of HumanaNatura’s revolutionary natural health system and are explained in detail in our comprehensive Personal Health Program. If you want to start by learning more about HumanaNatura and your opportunities for progressive modern natural life and health, go to The Four HumanaNatura Techniques.
Photo courtesy of Healthy Versus Alzheimer’s Brain.
Mark Lundegren is the founder of HumanaNatura.
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