Friday, 4 October 2013

How To Kill Your Brain With Bad Habits

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No one wants to have dementia or feel as if their brain is slipping away in their later years of life. And if you’ve watched family members with Alzheimer disease tread down that rocky path, you may fear the same thing will happen to you.
The fact is that certain habits can slowly degrade and degenerate your brain power, removing you from your mental giant position to a mental midget.
brain and bad habits

Bad Habit #1 That Kills Your Brain: Recreational Drugs

Most people already know that recreational drugs ‘fry’ the brain, triggering the reward pathway that triggers addiction and results in altered levels of serotonin and dopamine.
Recreational drugs such as methamphetamine, heroine and cocaine age your body rapidly, bringing you closer to the rocking chair long before your time because of the effects of the drugs as well as the high concentrations of toxic chemicals in them. These drugs also weaken your immunity and make you more susceptible to serious infections.
Drugs like Ecstasy and crack can permanently alter moods, excitability, and cause anxiety, insomnia and restlessness while increasing the risk of developing mental illnesses such as depression later in life.

Bad Habit #2 That Kills Your Brain: Alcohol

When alcohol is consumed in higher amounts, there’s no desire to eat. The alcohol replaces the feeling of hunger because it’s high in calories. However, it’s low in nutrients and uses up the body’s store of vitamins and minerals.
Two common deficiencies found in alcoholics are thiamine (vitamin B1) and magnesium. Thiamine deficiency causes decreased mental alertness, emotional instability, confusion, memory loss, and decreased coordination. Magnesium deficiency causes symptoms such as confusion, depression, disorientation, apprehensiveness and irritability.

Bad Habit #3 That Disrupts Your Brain’s Functioning: Bad Diet

What do foods high in sugar and processed foods have in common that makes them bad for your brain? It’s their content of advanced glycation endproducts, or AGEs. These molecular fragments act like miniscule terrorists tying up your cells’ DNA so that it’s useless. After enough of the DNA is bound up in a gnarled mass, organ failure can set in. Foods high in sugar or highly processed such as pizza or hot dogs have the highest level of AGEs. Once they get into your digestive system, their effects are amplified.
AGEs have been linked to every degenerative disease including diabetes, diabetes complications, high blood pressure, arthritis, cancer, heart disease and dementia.

Bad Habit #4 That Kills Your Brain:  Avoiding Reading

Researchers at the French National Institute found that by not reading, there was an 18% greater chance of developing dementia. And when the dementia did occur, symptoms were worse in those who didn’t read.
Reading not only stimulates multiple areas of the brain; it also changes the brain once the new information starts sparking ‘light bulb enlightening moments’.
The concept of neuroplasticity implies that the brain will constantly adapt to its environment, and if you are putting new information in regularly from books, you’re controlling the eventual outcome of your brain and how it (you) interpret new situations. Reading makes it easier to keep your cognitive skills, especially verbal skills, high in later life. It’s a ‘shield’ against mental decline and some experts say that reading for only 30 minutes is the best form of relaxation.
For decades, people have known that one of the major characteristics of top executives is their reading ability. The more you read, the more you know about everything you read, and the better your ability to creatively solve problems. And if you are the go-to person for problem solving, you’re valued more among friends and co-workers.
However, there is a ‘warning’ about reading. Recent studies find that reading books on a screen rather than a physical book is a good way to tire the eyes, create headaches and even blur the vision. Optometrists even have a disorder called computer vision syndrome that results from people who stare at the screen for too many hours at a time. Scientists also are finding that comprehension and recall are less when text is read digitally versus a physical book.

Other Bad Habits That Disrupt Your Brain’s Functioning There are numerous other bad habits that can cause brain degeneration if repeated throughout the years. Some are obvious, such as not getting enough sleep, watching a lot of television and neglecting to exercise. Others are more insidious, such as avoiding mental stimulation, never expressing an opinion, or feasting on pornographic images. Think about your life. What is it that you do that could be causing mental decline right now?
Cut out your bad habits that disrupt proper brain functioning. Start today – and never look back.