Question: “What do your favorite wool sweater, your retirement savings account, and your brain have in common?”
Answer: “They’re all better off if they don’t shrink!”
~ Doctors Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen
authors of “YOU” The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty
In an article that recently appeared in the Orange County Register, the doctors provided 10 tips to ensure ideal functioning of the brain. Although the article focused on tips to prevent a healthy brain from decaying, the tips also pertain to recovery from brain injury.
Tip 1: Start Walking
Exercise helps oxygen flow to the brain. Oxygen is essential to a healthy brain. I was going to suggest that walking is one of the best tips listed, but upon further review of the tips, I can honestly say I cannot select a single “best” tip.
Tip 2: Use a Heart-Rate Monitor
You do not know with certainty if you are making progress unless you have something to measure. Even if you have something to measure, you need to set a specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time sensitive goals. A heart-rate monitor that is hibernating in its box is not doing you any good.
Tip 3: Relax Daily
For me, relaxing is not an option — it is essential and almost instantaneous. I nap during rides on busses, taxis, and airplanes. I’m awake one moment and sound asleep a moment later. Whether or not I set an alarm, I am usually awake after a 30 minute nap. If you treat your brain to the down time it needs, your brain will treat you better during its waking hours.
Tip 4: Take Multivitamins
Several vitamins are known to benefit cognition. Check with the right medical professional to ensure that any multivitamins you are planning to use will not affect any medication you currently take.
Tip 5: Eliminate Trans Fats
The benefit of eliminating trans fats is well documented. Damaging your body with trans fats will harm your brain. If you have a brain injury, you simply cannot afford to inflict additional injury on your brain.
Tip 6: Reduce High Blood Pressure
Whether you realize it or not, your heart and your brain use the same blood. Damage to your heart or blood flow will adversely affect your brain. Keep your heart healthy to keep your brain healthy.
Tip 7: Avoid Inflammation of the Brain
According to the Free Dictionary, inflammation is “a protective tissue response to injury or destruction of tissues, which serves to destroy, dilute, or wall off both the injurious agent and the injured tissues.” The doctors explain that “puffing on tobacco chokes the blood supply to your brain” and note secondhand smoke as well as the flu are known to cause inflammation of the brain. If you treat your brain well, your brain is more likely to treat you well.
Tip 8: Eliminate Chronic Pain
Chronic pain is also known to cause brain inflammation. The doctors provide an example that “chronic back pain can erode a cubic half inch of brain matter — about the size of a walnut — in a single year.” Scheduling and attending checkups is a great idea.
Tip 9: Consider Supplements
Check with the right medical professional to ensure that any supplements you are planning to use will not affect any medication you currently take.
Tip 10: Sleep Well
If you treat your brain to the down times it needs, your brain will treat you better during its waking hours.
What additional tips would you like to add to the list?
Thanks to doctors Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, all the people involved with writing, editing, and illustrating “‘YOU‘ The Owner’s Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty,” Orange County Register, and my mom for providing information used in this post.