Brain function, like our general health, is strongly influenced by what we eat and drink. Some foods and beverages promote brain health, and others can actually erode it, causing brain fog, fatigue and a host of other health and lifestyle problems.
Over the past 50 years, chemicals and toxins have been found increasingly in our food, water, air, and work/home environments, and they build up in our body’s tissues. This “body burden” makes us more susceptible to all kinds of illnesses, including dementia.
As we age, it’s likely that many of us will be living with at least one, if not several, medical conditions. As a result, we may be taking multiple medications on a regular basis. Some of these drugs–singly or in combination with others–may harm cognitive function.
Heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic are neurotoxic, and can enter the body in a number of ways. Symptoms of mercury toxicity often mirror those of Alzheimer’s disease and may come from some surprising sources.
Hormones are regulatory substances produced by various glands that stimulate specific cells in our body. The brain needs the right levels of hormones to function at an optimal level. An imbalance of hormones, or unhealthy levels, can dramatically affect the brain’s chemistry and the necessary communication between brain cells.
Inflammation is the body’s response to injury and/or foreign substances in the body. A short-term inflammatory response results in healing. But if inflammation persists and becomes chronic, it can lead to a host of problems, including brain inflammation and memory loss.
Often referred to as the “lifestyle causes,” exercise, social engagement and staying mentally engaged all impact our brain health as we age. Each of these is important on its own, and taken together can be a strong predictor of dementia.
Chronic stress is the body’s inability to relax and recharge after a significant challenge has passed, adversely affecting physical, mental, and emotional functioning.
Untreated airway and sleep disorders deprive the brain of much-needed oxygen and short-circuit vitally important detoxifying and restorative functions that can lead to dementia.
Adverse childhood experiences, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury all have been linked to life-altering effects on memory in mid-life and dementia later in life.
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