A majority of us go about our daily routine without sparing a thought about how it affects our vital organs. We are all so caught up in the daily grind that we don’t spare a single moment of concern for our health until we fall ill. Our brain and other vital organs have to literally cry out in pain to get our attention. Until we suffer from a headache, we don’t take rest, until we have an upset tummy, we don’t pay attention to our digestion. This is not a rewarding trend.
Living mindlessly with no space for contemplation and gratitude can drastically affect the way our brain functions. The brain is a supremely efficient organ that doesn’t require much effort for functioning, but that doesn’t mean that we can keep taking it to a point of burn-out with unhealthy habits. Read to find out more about the 5 unhealthy habits that damage the brain.
1. Eating Unhealthy Foods
An unhealthy diet is one that contains more refined carbs, sugary and processed foods. On the other hand, a healthy diet is complete with lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. If you are someone who loves fast and processed foods, you are not only being unfair to your health but also to your brain in particular.
Studies have proven that food devoid in antioxidants and neuroprotective substances can make the brain more vulnerable to inflammation and free radical damage. This can set the pace for neurodegenerative processes leading to dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.1
2. Having Type A or Type D Personalities
Individuals with Type A personality are constantly on the run, restless, workaholic, highly stressed, extremely ambitious, and very rigid with themselves as well as others. They are who
Type D personality is used to address individuals who are constantly distressed and gloomy. They have a pessimistic attitude towards life and are very inhibited socially.
Researchers have found that individuals having either type A or D personalities have higher levels of stress hormones in the body. A higher level of stress hormones can cause irreversible damage to the brain structure and function, thereby leading to issues with cognition and memory.2Usually after a stressful episode, the stress hormone levels fall, but when frequently subjected to very emotional or competitive scenarios, brain health starts to deteriorate due to prolonged exposure to stress hormones.
3. Sedentary Lifestyle Without Enough Exercise
We are constantly bombarded with information on the importance of exercise and leading an active lifestyle. Daily exercise not only strengthens your skeletal, cardiovascular and respiratory systems but it’s also the best thing you could do for your brain. Staying active keeps your brain alert and makes you sharp.
Researchers claim that even a moderate amount of physical activity enhances memory and learning capacities, promotes neurogenesis and prevents the onset of neurodegenerative disease.3 In aged individuals who exercised daily, the onset of Alzheimer’s disease was markedly reduced when compared to their counterparts who didn’t exercise.4
4. Sleep Deprivation
Rigorous work schedules and excessive socializing can encroach into our sleep times. When we don’t have a well-rested sleep, it’s only natural to feel dreary and sleepy the next morning.
Researchers have identified that sleep deprivation adversely affected the performance of tasks that demanded alertness and cognitive functioning of the brain.5 Studies found that persistent sleep loss can hamper a person’s emotional well-being and make him more fatigued and more prone to committing errors at work. It can even intensity one’s response to stressful events and reduce the capacity to focus on a positive event.6
5. Having No Social
Almost all of us lose the opportunities to makes friends as we enter adulthood.It is necessary to have good conversations with others that are filled with laughter as these stimulates the brain and rejuvenates it. Having a solid social network, regardless of its size, can be the best stress-buster, an anti-depressant for the brain while stimulating it intellectually. In recent times, having 100s of friends on social media is considered to be big deal. It’s important to remember that the brain feeds on face-to-face interactions for its good health. Loneliness is not good for the brain and can make it more prone to neurodegeneration.
Studies claim that individuals who were in rewarding relationships at work and marriage had better cognitive functioning than those who were lonely.7
Ultimately, for the overall
|↑1||Murphy, Tytus, Gisele Pereira Dias, and Sandrine Thuret. “Effects of diet on brain plasticity in animal and human studies: mind the gap.” Neural plasticity 2014 (2014).|
|↑2||Lupien, Sonia J., Francoise Maheu, Mai Tu, Alexandra Fiocco, and Tania E. Schramek. “The effects of stress and stress hormones on human cognition: Implications for the field of brain and cognition.” Brain and cognition 65, no. 3 (2007): 209-237.|
|↑3||Ploughman, Michelle. “Exercise is brain food: the effects of physical activity on cognitive function.” Developmental neurorehabilitation 11, no. 3 (2008): 236-240.|
|↑4||Adlard, Paul A., Victoria M. Perreau, Viorela Pop, and Carl W. Cotman. “Voluntary exercise decreases amyloid load in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease.” Journal of Neuroscience 25, no. 17 (2005): 4217-4221.|
|↑5||Thomas, Maria, Helen Sing, Gregory Belenky, Henry Holcomb, Helen Mayberg, Robert Dannals, J. R. Wagner et al. “Neural basis of alertness and cognitive performance impairments during sleepiness. I. Effects of 24 h of sleep deprivation on waking human regional brain activity.” Journal of sleep research 9, no. 4 (2000): 335-352.|
|↑6||Zohar, Dov, Oma Tzischinsky, Rachel Epstein, and Peretz Lavie. “The effects of sleep loss on medical residents’ emotional reactions to work events: a cognitive-energy model.” Sleep 28, no. 1 (2005): 47-54.|
|↑7||Cacioppo, John T., and Stephanie Cacioppo. “Social relationships and health: The toxic effects of perceived social isolation.” Social and personality psychology compass 8, no. 2 (2014): 58-72.|