Matters of the mind for long term health and wellbeing
1 in 4 people experience a mental health issue of some degree in this country.
That may well be a dramatic opening line but unlike recent EU referendum tactics, this is not intended to scare you but simply make you aware of the level of recognition that is needed by all of us with regard to mental health.
The brain is the most complex of our organs. Billions of cells served by trillions of connections. Within mental health, we can loosely attribute 3 main areas of brain function:
1. Cognition – the understanding of new information and the ability to solve problems.
2. Concentration – involves focus, application and persistence.
3. Memory – recall of information, both short and long term.
All three must be working perfectly for us to function as well rounded and coherent individuals. To be properly effective, the brain must contain nutrients that support all three areas.
Nutrients to retain personality, memories and intelligence.
Current research figures state that over 900,000 people in this country suffer with dementia whilst that is predicted to rise to over a million by 2025. Of course, there are varying levels of dementia which takes time to develop but a road to Alzheimer’s is a real issue for a large section of our ageing population.
So what can we do to protect and improve brain function?Well,rather a lot, actually:
Get plenty of sleep
Studies have found that people who sleep less are more likely to have a build up
of beta-amyloid ‘plaques’ in their brain. These plaques are a very often found in
people with mental health problems and brain disease.
Get as much exercise as you can
Extensive studies have found the positive effects of exercise on mental health are dramatic. Those who increase blood flow to the brain are 60% less likely to develop mind and memory problems.
The benefits of herbal supplements
Keep cholesterol under control
High cholesterol will increase your risk of brain disease and reduced function. Improving diet to consume less bad fatty foods will help improve the cardiovascular system. Increasing omega 3 consumption for fighting effects of beta-amyloid can be hugely beneficial.
Get your eyes tested
Studies show that treating poor vision can reduce the chances of brain disease by up to 68%. Eye health plays a crucial role in monitoring diabetes with early diagnosis helping to stem the development of macula degeneration which can lead to blindness.
Cocoa before bed!
Chocolate helps increase blood flow to the brain. That doesn’t mean sucking in a few bags of Minstrels after the News at Ten but the cocoa bean in dark chocolate is rich in plant nutrients, flavonoids. These antioxidants encourage the flow of oxygen-carrying blood to the brain. So a nice hot cup of cocoa is not only good for the soul but the mind as well! And by the way, an occasional bag of Minstrels won’t kill you!
Maintain an active mind
The risk of mental health and brain disease is reduced by up to 75% for those who regularly exercise their mind with reading and puzzles. Mental stimulation is vital for a healthy mind.
Look after your heart
The risks of mental health problems are increased heart problems occur; this can include heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Eat a balanced diet, take regular exercise of any kind, be it gardening, regular walks or swimming – anything to increase your heart rate.