Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Re-wire Our Brains? Maybe...

I've been plugging away, continuing to work on reducing toxins, pesticides, and other exposures to Nicolas. I am not going to spray weeds around the parameter of our home this year... I think it will be a good year for weeds! And, I am not going to spray for bugs either. For the bugs, I am going to try peppermint oil mixed with water and spray... we'll see. I am trying to remain un-skeptical, but - we do live in the country and where nature is, bugs live.

I've also been sprouting nuts and using other whole foods to provide him with as much natural, healthy, whole nutrition as I can. There's always more that I could do, I am sure of it. But, being a mere mortal mom (on a budget), I can only do what I can do.

Late at night, I stay up and read about enzymes, the brain and our body's ability to self-heal, given the right conditions. One of the conditions is nutrition-based. It seems so simple: what we eat affects of brain. Of course it does. But -- it comes as a shock to me that not everyone subscribes to this notion. To many, it is but a theory. Theory shmeary... I keep reading.

I also found a TED video and then found the same info on Dr. Mercola's site, about re-wiring your brain. I'll paste some of it below:

Eight Tips for “Rewiring” Your Brain Naturally
One of the simplest methods, as Merzenich pointed out in his talk, is to keep on learning.

People often compare your brain to a computer, but there is an important difference. While a computer's hardware does not change, the size and structure of neurons and the connections between them actually change as you learn. This can take on many forms above and beyond book learning to include activities like traveling, learning to play a musical instrument or speak a foreign language, or participating in social and community activities. Another important method? Brain aerobics. As with learning, challenging your brain with mind-training exercises can keep your brain fit as you age. This can be something as simple as searching for famous people whose first names begin with the letter A, doing crossword puzzles or playing board games that get you thinking. Going one step further, you can also change your lifestyle to boost your brain health by making the following changes:

1. Take omega-3 fats. The omega -3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) keep the dopamine levels in your brain high, increase neuronal growth in the frontal cortex of your brain, and increase cerebral circulation. Krill oil is an excellent source of omega-3, and may even be superior to fish oil.

2. Exercise. Exercise may encourage your brain to work at optimum capacity by causing nerve cells to multiply, strengthening their interconnections and protecting them from damage.

3. Sleep well. It’s during sleep that your mental energy is restored, and a lack of sleep may cause your brain to stop producing new cells.

4. Eat healthy. Like the rest of your body, your brain depends on healthy foods to function. While protein is the main source of fuel for your brain, vitamins and minerals from fresh veggies are also important, as is limiting sugar.

5. Get out into the sun. This will help you maintain optimal vitamin D levels. Scientists are now beginning to realize vitamin D is involved in maintaining the health of your brain, as they’ve recently discovered vitamin D receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system. There’s even evidence indicating vitamin D improves your brain’s detoxification process. For children and pregnant women, getting enough vitamin D is especially crucial, as it may play a major role in protecting infants' brains from autism.

6. Turn off your TV. Allowing children under the age of 3 to watch television can impair their linguistic and social development, and it can affect brain chemistry as well.

7. Protect your brain from cell phones. Recent studies have found that cell phone users are 240 percent more prone to brain tumors, and a study back in 2004 found that your risk of acoustic neuroma (a tumor on your auditory nerve) was nearly four times greater on the side of your head where your phone was most frequently held.

8. Avoid foods that contain artificial sweeteners and additives. Substances such as aspartame (Nutrasweet), artificial color and MSG, which are common in processed foods, can damage your brain. For instance, consuming a lot of aspartame may inhibit the ability of enzymes in your brain to function normally, and high doses of the sweetener may lead to neurodegeneration. And there you have it. Simple, succinct and smart strategies to encourage your brain to function at its best, and continue to grow and make new connections, whether you’re 19 or 90.

You can find the rest of the article, including the video here. Take it or leave it - but, realize that it doesn't hurt to investigate -- right? Maybe all those enzymes really are doing something... maybe. I'd like to think that all I go through for my family is worth it. As with many things, I have come to believe that time will tell.

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